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Missed Mark by $10 Trillion. Keep Job.

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February 16, 2011 – Comments (3)

In his review of bad football predictions, Gregg Easterbrook veers into economics with this hilarious tidbit:

In January 2000, the Congressional Budget Office projected a federal surplus of $4.3 trillion for the decade ending in 2010. Actual was a deficit of about $6 trillion. Hey, they were off by only $10 trillion!

I found the original CBO report here. I'm sure there's more fun tidbits in it for those who have the time.

This is why I refer to econometricians as nothing more than highly trained witch doctors. When compared to real economists, it's like Mike Tyson fighting an infant. It's just not fair.

David in Qatar

3 Comments – Post Your Own

#1) On February 16, 2011 at 1:49 PM, whereaminow (20.23) wrote:

As bad as that is, Easterbrook himself tops it. In the same article, he says:

"[referring to Jim Cramer] In October, with gold at $1,340, Cramer urged viewers to buy, predicting the metal would hit $2,000 by 2012. I hope you sold gold when Cramer said to buy."

Gold is trading at $1,375.

Making bad predictions is one thing. Not even knowing the current price when criticizing a prediction is even worse.

David in Qatar

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#2) On February 16, 2011 at 5:17 PM, smartmuffin (< 20) wrote:

I read TMQ (Easterbrook's column) every week.  It's usually pretty entertaining and spot-on with a lot of his non-football analysis.  My favorite is his attack on the tenth of a second as a completely meaningless measure of time in sports.  The main thing to remember is that he doesn't usually attack bad predictions made by regular people, only those who claim some level of "expertise."

Since he doesn't claim to be a financial expert, it's not really a big deal when he himself gets things wrong slightly.  To defend him though, a $35 rise in gold prices since October isn't that much, and probably doesn't even beat the S&P, does it?

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#3) On February 16, 2011 at 7:02 PM, whereaminow (20.23) wrote:

To defend him though, a $35 rise in gold prices since October isn't that much, and probably doesn't even beat the S&P, does it?

It doesn't, I don't think, but it's still no excuse. He could have looked it up with a Google search. If you're going to be bagging on people for their lack of forecasting, at least know the current price!

I will say that wasn't as bad as saying Texas missed the NCAA tournament (they were an 8 seed the year in question) or claiming Dwayne Bowe wasn't a breakout player (he won many fantasy leagues and I drafted him as my #2 WR this year, so take that Easterbrook!)

I like Easterbrook too, but that was a sloppy column.

David in Qatar

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