Tags: Trump Administration | Democrats 2016 | bernie sanders | economists | math | economy

Liberal Economists Correct Sanders' Fuzzy Math

Image: Liberal Economists Correct Sanders' Fuzzy Math

By    |   Tuesday, 23 Feb 2016 03:55 PM

Bernie Sanders is something new: a Democratic candidate who is not pretending to represent the party of fiscal responsibility and balanced budgets. That's always been a pretty big bluff anyway. When other Democrats made that claim, it rested entirely on the boom years of the Clinton administration, which brought the only budget surplus since 1969. But Sanders has dropped the act.

His budget plans are full of the sorts of frankly unbelievable numbers that would make a con man blush: massive projected cuts in health-care costs, a sudden doubling of the growth rates of GDP and productivity, enormous revenue forecast from small and easily avoidable taxes. Sanders is easily competitive with Donald Trump for “Most Imaginary Numbers in a Policy Platform” and “Most Politically Unrealistic Claims About What His Administration Will Achieve.”

But while the wonks in the right hemisphere of the political world have mostly been standing around gaping, too aghast at their party's outliers to even know what to say, their counterparts on the left have struck back. Four former members of the Council of Economic Advisers under Democratic administrations recently penned a scathing open letter about the Sanders fairy-tale promises, in which they lamented that this would undermine their efforts to make the Democrats the party of evidence-based policy.

Needless to say, I applaud their efforts, and wish that some Republican economists would unleash comparable opprobrium on the absurd promises that Republicans are making about growing the economy through the magic of supply-side tax cuts. Unfortunately, as Clay Shirky recently argued on Twitter, both political parties seem to be turning into host organisms for third-party insurgencies. Like all parasites, these insurgents are prepared to shut down unnecessary functions that hamper their goals — such as the policy analysis infrastructure that once tried to keep each side middling-honest.

The idea of Democrats as center-left technocrats, less interested in ideology than in whether the numbers add up, came in with the Clintons. Even if Hillary Clinton beats back Sanders and takes the presidency, it will probably be the last we see of that pragmatism.

The younger generation of Democrats, the future of the party, isn’t looking to be told that they can do 4.726 percent better under a Democrat than under a Republican. They’re looking for the kind of transformational change that Sanders promises. And they’re bound to be impatient with wonks who demand that they provide a detailed analysis of a future that doesn’t yet exist outside of their dreams.

This column does not necessarily reflect the opinion of the editorial board or Bloomberg LP and its owners.

Megan McArdle is a Bloomberg View columnist who writes on economics, business and public policy. To read more of her blogs, CLICK HERE NOW.

© Copyright 2017 Bloomberg L.P. All Rights Reserved.

 
1Like our page
2Share
MeganMcArdle
Bernie Sanders is something new: a Democratic candidate who is not pretending to represent the party of fiscal responsibility and balanced budgets. That's always been a pretty big bluff anyway. When other Democrats made that claim, it rested entirely on the boom years of...
bernie sanders, economists, math, economy
453
2016-55-23
Tuesday, 23 Feb 2016 03:55 PM
Newsmax Inc.
 

Newsmax, Moneynews, Newsmax Health, and Independent. American. are registered trademarks of Newsmax Media, Inc. Newsmax TV, and Newsmax World are trademarks of Newsmax Media, Inc.

NEWSMAX.COM
MONEYNEWS.COM
© Newsmax Media, Inc.
All Rights Reserved