Uncovering the Bad Math and Logic (and the Bias) at the New York Times

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By James Sherman
“The point of studying economics is so as not to be fooled by economists.”
– Joan RobinsonJust as I was finishing my long post on the controversy over Gerald Friedman’s analysis of Bernie Sanders’ policy program, the debate entered a new stage. Christina and David Romer stepped up to the challenge that was issued by defenders of Friedman’s work, and released a critique which at least took that work seriously, while still disagreeing with its methods and conclusions in the strongest possible terms.The Romers’ paper was then featured in an installment of the NYT’s The Upshot written by Justin Wolfers – a professor of public policy at the University of Michigan – titled “Uncovering the Bad Math (or Logic) Behind Bernie Sanders’ Economic Plan“.Because The Upshot has a wide readership, and is likely to be taken by many people as a source for accurate and informed discussion, I’m going to go through Wolfers’ piece first, and then I’ll go on to say something about the points in the Romers’ actual paper which it doesn’t cover.

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