Monday, August 8, 2011
LIES, DAMNED LIES, AND PAUL KRUGMAN
I heard a funny guy on TV the other, which got me thinking a little
bit about the relationship between sports statistics and politics and
Hey, this is The Sports Bar Newsletter, where we can draw a
relationship between sports and ANYTHING.
The funny guy was uber-liberal commentator, columnist, and Nobel
Prize winning economist, Paul Krugman. You might recognize The Beard
from his Sunday morning newspaper columns and his appearances on
ABC's This Week show on Sunday mornings, which I still refer to
lovingly as "The Brinkley Show."
Krugman, if you've ever read or heard two words that he strung
together, is just about as liberal a guy as you can get. To him, FDR
was a conservative, and Barack Obama is a fascist.
I don't know if Krugman is a sports fan, ala his fellow Brinkley Show
round table panelist George Will. But I know that Krugman would make
a good sports fan.
On Sunday's This Week show, the panelists doing the round table
commentary with host Christiane Amanpour included Krugman, Will, and
conservative tax-hater Grover Norquist.
It was Norquist who made the "Better than" type of sports argument,
but in a political/economic context. He said that the economy was
better in states that had dealt with, and balanced, their
budgets. Places like New Jersey, Michigan, Wisconsin, Ohio,
Pennsylvania, Texas, and Florida.
SIDEBAR: Coincidentally (???), all the governors in those states are
Well, Krugman could not let this conservative argument go
unchallenged, like a great baseball question of "A-Rod or Pujols?"
Alex Rodriguez per 162 games: .302 / 43 HR / 128 RBI
Albert Pujols per 162 games: .328 / 42 HR / 127 RBI
Krugman responded to Norquist by saying "We can get into statistics,
but it just isn't true".
Ah. Krugman, so smug with that Nobel Prize apparently stuck up his
butt, could only respond to Norquist with "It just isn't true?" And
his evidence is "We can get into statistics." ?
By saying "We can get into statistics," I think Krugman is conceding
the evidence in favor of Norquist. It is like saying "Sure, you have
the statistical evidence on your side, and we could argue this stat
or that stat all day. I mean, sure, if all you want to do is look at
statistics, then you're right."
"But it just isn't true."
If they were arguing about great baseball players, the two This Week
panelists might have shared a similar exchange:
Norquist: "Hank Aaron was better than Willie Mays. Aaron had more
career home runs, RBI's, better batting average, RBI's. Hank Aaron
was better than Willie Mays."
Krugman: "We can get into statistics, but it just isn't true".
Paul Krugman doesn't need the statistics to be on his side. He just
has to look at you and say you're wrong. And I guess that's good
enough for the media who continue to put him on the air and in print.
- 30 -