Sunday, August 30, 2009

Wow, Paul Krugman Lies Again...

...what a surprise.

You may have read recently how noted British health care industry specialist (what? he isn't?) Paul Krugman, and others have been trashing IBD Editorials for suggesting that the NHS would not be a bed of roses for someone suffering from ALS like Stephen Hawking. Oh, the temerity!

Know who else thought such "fascistic" thoughts? Well, Stephen Hawking's biographers, parents and his wife for starters:

Hawking biographers Michael White and John Gribben, in the second edition of their 2003 book, "Stephen Hawking, A Life In Science," found that back when Hawking was less well-known, NHS wasn't nearly as good to him.

In the mid-1960s, Hawking's father became disillusioned with the care Hawking was getting from NHS and took over his son's treatment himself, doing his own research and prescribing vitamins.

On his own Web site, Hawking recalls that private help was also critical. "I caught pneumonia in 1985," he says. "I had to have a tracheotomy operation. After this, I had to have 24-hour nursing care. This was made possible by grants from several foundations."

White and Gribben describe what that meant: "The best the National Health Service could offer was seven hours' nursing help a week . . . They would have to pay for private nursing. It was obvious they would have to find financial support from somewhere.

"Jane (his wife) wrote letter after letter to charitable organizations around the world and called upon the help of family friends in approaching institutions that might be interested in assisting them.

"Help arrived from an American foundation aware of Hawking's work and international reputation, which agreed to pay £50,000 a year toward the costs of nursing. Shortly afterward several other charitable organizations on both sides of the Atlantic followed suit with smaller donations.

"Jane feels bitter about the whole affair. She resents the fact that, after paying a lifetime of contributions to the National Health Service, they were offered such meager help when the need arose. She is very aware that if her husband had been an unknown physics teacher he would now be living out his final days in a residential home.

" 'Think of the waste of talent,' she has said of the situation."

Why do I think we will not be seeing a correction from Mr. Krugman?

Oh, that's right. He's a scum bag, that's why.


Zut Alors! said...

Iconic Midwesterner:

Apparently Stephen Hawking disagrees. According to the Guardian's Hugh Muir's "Diary" on August 11, 2009, Professor Hawking said in response to the IBD editorial: "I wouldn't be here today if it were not for the NHS." "I have received a large amount of high-quality treatment without which I would not have survived."

Moreover, your summary of the contretemps does not do justice to the sheer stupidity of the IBD piece because it implied that Hawking did not live in Britain: "People such as scientist Stephen Hawking wouldn't have a chance in the U.K., where the National Health Service would say the life of this brilliant man, because of his physical handicaps, is essentially worthless." Of course, Hawking has lived his entire life (so far) in the U.K. so that on its face, the IBD piece was unintentionally hilarious. In fact, the IBD issued a correction of at least that part of its editorial. Without indicating that you were making changes to the IBD piece you softened its hard edge of "wouldn't have a chance" to "not a bed of roses." This is a sin of omission. The IBD said that the NHS would have killed Hawking if he had lived in the U.K. Moreover, the comment on Hawking's website which you quote (from the IBD piece defending itself) contains no criticism of the NHS, though IBD does correctly point to the role of private charity. I don't have ready access to the Hawking biography that the IBD refers to so I cannot determine the accuracy and context of the quotes from it.

I don't know what the NHS's policy is regarding motor neurone disease and neither you nor IBD have done any research suggest that Hawking would have been better treated in the U.S. system as a superstar scientist or an average joe. Certainly, the IBD's point that people like Hawking are considered "worthless" by the NHS is rubbish.

You need to explain how Paul Krugman "lie[d]" about the IBD editorial. I found two posts about the matter on his blog and the first, "broken tubes," relates to IBD implying that Hawking did not live in the U.K. and the second, "the irresponsibility era," observed that IBD's correction did not address the fact that Hawking received care from the NHS undermined its main point. In his column "The Swiss Menace," Krugman simply wrote: Professor Hawking, who was born in Britain, has lived there all his life, and has been well cared for by the National Health Service, was not amused." Where exactly was the "lie"? That dovetails nicely with the quote from the Guardian and fact of his lifelong residence in the U.K. At the very most, it is a case of dueling Hawking quotes.

Lastly, calling Krugman a "scumbag" because you dislike his politics is poor form. You're better than that, aren't you?

The Iconic Midwesterner said...

Gee, its funny that Hawkings (and his family) tells his biographers one thing when there is no political controversey raging, and ANOTHER thing when a controversey arises. People who study things for a living (i.e. academic historians) will tell you you get more truthful information from people when what they are talking about isn't politicized.

Besides, the whole point of the argument was not what happened AFTER Hawking became world famous, but what happened when he was little known. The assesment of those who were most intimately concerned with his well being at the time very clearly stated they thought his was being ill done by the NHS. (Luckily he could be helped by Americans who, because they were not crushed by an oppressive tax burden like Britain's, HAD the money to give to Hawking as charity. Hmmm...BTW if the NHS was doing such a bang up job, why was he taking the charity in the first place? It's funny how Krugman chooses to leave that out. And, yes, doing that is lying.)

And as for Krugman being a "scumbag", NO he earned that title by his actions in many areas:

1) Lysenkonism lives!
...this morning, I read the statement of that noted physicist Paul Krugman proclaiming that to doubt the global warming peril is “treason against the planet.” One can hear the rumbling of the tumbrels, the crash of the guillotine, and the roar of the crowd in the background. Treason Against the Planet! Set up a Committee of Planetary Safety! What the hell, if I may ask, does Krugman know about it? Is he calling [MIT climatology Prof. Richard] Lindzen, [Harvard physicist Will] Happer, and [Institute for Advanced Study Freeman] Dyson traitors against the planet? Yes, in effect, he is. And that is truly disgusting.

2) Then there is him being a lying weasel about what he himself advocated.

3) Then there is what Krugman advocates for people who disagree with him:

The only way we’re going to get action, I’d suggest, is if those who stand in the way of action [i.e. "action" considered desirable by Democrats] come to be perceived as not just wrong but immoral.

Krugman is basically an advocate for what I called Obamism. Here is the precis:

This "approach" to politics walks hand-in-hand with the attempts by the left in America's colleges and universities to silence right of center speech, either through the use of "speech codes," which largely seek to protect left of center policies from criticism of any kind, or through the use of what is euphemistically called the "heckler's veto" which in effect uses the threat of violence to silence any and all opposition. In each case the justification is the same. The speech that is infringed is "morally suspect" (they will call anything they do not like "hate speech") and therefore of no great loss when it is silenced.


So what I am calling Obamism isn't merely the tactics of this particular presidential campaign; it is the culmination of a long standing process, albeit in a more refined and complete package. This can be seen in the "global warming" debates where any deviance from the left wing orthodoxy is met with shrieks of "denier," a term designed to impugn the character and moral worth of the person it is applied to and nothing more. It can also be seen in the way cultural institutions are being captured by the a "new Left" that believes one of its duties is to banish right of center voices from the conversation.

It is because Krugman has shown himself to be someone who denies the right of people to disagree with him with a clean conscience that I have labelled him a "scumbag."

The Iconic Midwesterner said...

Oh, the link to my piece on Obamism, if you are interested.

Zut Alors! said...

Iconic Midwesterner,

The "whole point" of IBD's argument was that the NHS would have deemed Hawking "essentially worthless" because of his disability and he would died, or as the editors put it, "wouldn't have a chance." Neither you nor the IBD can evade the fact that the notion that the NHS declares disabled people to be "essentially worthless" and doesn't give them "a chance" to live or thrive is complete rubbish. Did you even read the original editorial that caused this contretemps? You still have not acknowledged that the IBD issued a correction because it implied that Hawking would have died prematurely if he lived in the U.K. and was left to the tender mercies of socialized medicine. The fact that he has lived his entire life in the U.K., was recently treated by the NHS, and has nice things to say about the NHS were lost on the IBD and, seemingly, you. I suggest you read the primary sources, "How the House Bill Runs Over Grandma," the Krugman posts and column, Hawking's website, the Guardian, etc., because that is what academic historians do before they try to weigh the evidence in a controversy.

The Iconic Midwesterner said...

Well, yes, I did read the original pieces (except the Guardian piece which Krugman quotes, then again I didnt say anything about the Guardian.)

As for "You still have not acknowledged that the IBD issued a correction"...well, actually, I linked to it in my original piece, which was about Krugman and not IBD. Anyone who would have followed the link would have seen the correction.

Now, if you want to say you think the use of the term "essentially worthless" was far too strong, well, fine. It still leaves the fact that the NHS care was deemed insufficient at the time. (Then again, if some bureacracy were to make some "cost/benefit" analysis and decide that further treatment would be pointless, would you ever deem that the same thing as saying trying to save someone was "esstentialy worthless"? If they felt real bad about denying someone care, would that be suitable? "Gee, we are really sorry we cant approve this experimental treatment, but we do have a bottom line to keep to, and our spreadsheets and actuarial tables really think we would get more bang for our buck elsewhere. We dont want to disappoint Washington, ya know? There's a good fellow.")

Look, I can deal with a good deal of inconsistency in politics. It comes with the territory. But there are some folks who cross the line, particularly when they enjoying particularly privileged posts in our society. Some nutjob on his website can attempt to define everyone from a rival poltical party as immoral and I really wouldnt give a shit. But when the staff of the New York Times tries it, well, that is different.

Zut Alors! said...

Iconic Midwesterner,

You are begging the question again. What about Hawking "WOULDN"T HAVE A CHANCE" because the NHS deemed him "ESSENTIALLY WORTHLESS"? The NHS does not make such determinations about people with disabilities in general or Hawking in particular. As I noted in my first post, you soften the IBD's point to being life with motor neurone disease is "not a bed of roses" which was not IBD's original point and a rather low bar to clear. Life with motor neurone disease is "not of bed roses" under any circumstance in the UK or the US even if you are a multi-millionaire.

Zut Alors! said...

Iconic Midwesterner,

Where exactly did you link to the IBD correction? It is in the piece entitled "How the House Bill Runs Over Grandma." The correction reads: "This version corrects the original editorial which implied that physicist Stephen Hawking, a professor at the University of Cambridge, did not live in the UK." The only link I see in your "Wow, Paul Krugman Lies Again..." is to "P.S. On Hawking."

By the way, I am pleased that you conceded that "essentially worthless" is too strong -- though I would describe it as mendaciously wrong.

The Iconic Midwesterner said...

I guess it's better to say the correction was noted, as in...

"Now, Hawking is British and — though he suffers from amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS), often referred to as "Lou Gehrig's Disease" — is very much alive at 67. He even credited the NHS for being so. We used a bad example and corrected that..."

The Iconic Midwesterner said...

BTW...could you point me to a place where Krugman ever apologized or made a correction of his own? I've never seen him do it once. (And THAT kinda goes to the heart of the matter, at least if you are still claiming I can't call him a liar and a scumbag.)

The Iconic Midwesterner said...

Wait! Hold the presses! I found a Krugman correction!! Two of them to be precise:

In four years of Krugman columns in the Times — a period over which the Truth Squad has documented a vast collection of errors, distortions, misquotations, invented quotations, contradictions, and downright lies — Krugman has made only two corrections worthy of that name. In January 2002 the Times ran a formal correction in which Krugman apologized to his bete noir Larry Kudlow for wrongly attributing an embarrassing statement to him. Nine months later, in a column, Krugman confessed error in citing unsubstantiated reporting about financial malfeasance by Secretary of the Army Thomas White (he had relied on research notes supplied to him by Jason Leopold, whom the Times itself later reported had been accused of plagiarism by the Financial Times with respect to the same story, and who had earlier resigned from Dow Jones as concerns emerged about the accuracy of his reporting for the Wall Street Journal.)

So, he corrected a potentially libelous statement, and he apologized for the work of someone else...see it wasn't REALLY Paul's fault, he simply trusts too much.

But, I love the rest fo the story in the link. It's classic Krugman:

But the rest of the time, Krugman "corrections" look more like one that appeared in his Times column Monday, in which he replaced one lie with a bigger lie. Here's the whole story.

The original lie appeared in Krugman's January 27 column. There he wrote of a conspiracy of conservative think tanks to create an "urban legend" that an explosion in government spending has been responsible for the federal deficit. He said,

'According to cleverly misleading reports from the Heritage Foundation and other like-minded sources, the deficit is growing because Mr. Bush isn't sufficiently conservative: he's allowing runaway growth in domestic spending ... Is domestic spending really exploding? Think about it: farm subsidies aside, which domestic programs have received lavish budget increases over the last three years? Education? Don't be silly ... In fact, many government agencies are severely underfinanced.'

After dissecting that column in a Krugman Truth Squad report for National Review Online, I was contacted by the author of those "cleverly misleading reports," Brian Riedl, a fellow for federal budgetary affairs at the Heritage Foundation. In a particularly delicious coincidence, it just so happens that Riedl was once an economics student of Professor Krugman's at the Woodrow Wilson School of Princeton University. While Riedl was flattered that his "cleverly misleading reports" had been singled out by a former teacher — especially one whose own work reflects such deep expertise in all things cleverly misleading — he nevertheless wished to set the record straight. He did so in a devastating post on my website last week. There he reprised some of the highpoints from his many Heritage reports on spending. For example,

'Professor Krugman asserted that education spending is not increasing. In reality it jumped from $35 billion to $58 billion (65%) [in the two years] from 2001 to 2003.
Professor Krugman draws a blank after asking 'farm subsidies aside, which domestic programs have received lavish budget increases over the last three years?' The answer he couldn't provide:

unemployment benefits (85%)
education (65%)
general government (63%)
air transportation (52%)
community/regional development (43%)
health research (32%)
veterans' assistance (27%)
Medicaid (24%) and
income security programs (21%).

to be continued....

The Iconic Midwesterner said...

...finishing up:

Think how Professor Krugman must have felt about that. His own student giving him an "F" — and in public, no less. So what does Krugman do? Instead of acknowledging that he was wrong and that Riedl was right, he accuses Riedl of "innuendo." Get this:

'Over the past few months, many pundits have obediently placed the onus for rising deficits on "a vast increase in discretionary domestic spending," or words to that effect. By the way, the Heritage Foundation, which has orchestrated this campaign, is cagier than those pundits; it covers itself by relying on innuendo, never saying outright that domestic discretionary spending is the source of the deficit.'

Huh? First Heritage is "cleverly misleading" because it said that spending is causing the deficits. And now it's charged with "innuendo" because it didn't say spending is causing the deficits?

Typical. Sadly typical.

Zut Alors! said...

Iconic Midwesterner,

As far as HF's Brian Riedl goes: he is not an economist: he has a BS in economics (and political science) and a MA in public policy. He can't even teach Econ 101 at the crappy third-tier public university where I teach history. I have seen conservatives, including my brother, cite his stuff. He has no peer-reviewed journal articles as far as I can tell. (Most of his "publications" under the "research" heading are for "webmemos" and the like. The idea that Riedl is a credible commentator on economic matters is laughable. I wonder why the HF cannot find a Ph.D. economist to make its points? The economics department is usually the most conservative department in the liberal arts and sciences. Over a third of the conservatives in my college are found in my university's economics department. Krugman, needless to say, is an outstanding economist who has routinely received the highest accolades in the field, in the Clark medal and the Nobel prize. He has a Ph.D. in economics and holds an endowed chair in economics at Princeton. The idea of Riedl grading Krugman's work is humorous. I think Riedl should go get a Ph.D. in economics and publish some peer-reviewed papers in a proper economics journal, in other words earn some credibility. Then, I can take his pronouncements about economics with some interest. Without establishing some bona fides he is just another person, much like me and you, who has an uninformed opinion about the science of economics.

Zut Alors! said...

Iconic Midwesterner,

You request that I " point me to a place where Krugman ever apologized or made a correction of his own? I've never seen him do it once." Check out the "Swiss Menace" column (August 16, 2009) that you and I have been discussing. Krugman writes: "Correction: In Friday’s column I mistakenly asserted that Senator Johnny Isakson was responsible for a provision in a House bill that would allow Medicare to pay for end-of-life counseling. In fact, he is responsible for a provision in a Senate bill that would allow a different, newly created government program to pay for such counseling."

Moreover, I never said that you "can't" call Krugman a "liar and a scumbag." It is a free country. Rather, I believe that the latter term is just name-calling and the former is unproven. Krugman did not misrepresent Hawking's views on the NHS. The IBD cited his Hawking's father and wife criticizing the NHS, not Hawking. In general, I think your blog would be more persuasive to liberals and moderates if you dropped the ad hominem attacks and the sneering tone and tried ad rem arguments and civility. Certainly, you and I have had a pleasant exchange.

Lastly, you still have not acknowledged that IBD made the absurd claim that Hawking "wouldn''t have had chance" under the NHS when in fact he attributes his long life, considering his disability, to the NHS's care. That remains the heart of the matter.

The Iconic Midwesterner said...

"Krugman, needless to say, is an outstanding economist who has routinely received the highest accolades in the field, in the Clark medal and the Nobel prize. He has a Ph.D. in economics and holds an endowed chair in economics at Princeton."

Ah...the old argument by authority ("Hello, old friend What a strange coincidence to find you!") Last time I checked that was still classified as a logical fallacy, but let's go with it, shall we? By that standard, because I'm only a professor of political philosophy and not an economist am I supposed to just STFU when politics turns to economics?

As for "grading Krugman's work", Riedle was grading his factual content, and by any objective measure Krugman was seriously lacking in that department. Besides, your basic premise is a little weird. Your contention seems to be because Krugman has gone through a peer review process for other work his non-peer reviewed work as a pundit should be viewed as unquestionable, at least by us lowly non-economists. (Just wondering, do you have a PhD in Economics? If not, how can you even claim to legitimately AGREE with Krugman?)

As for the "correction" in the Krugman column, it isn't exactly anything one could call substantive. It was a missed detail. Granted, its better to get things like that right, but it happens all the time to all journalists and is hardly the type of mistake I'm referring to. I'm sure he makes uncorrected typos too, on the blog at least. No reasonable person is going after him for that. (Why do I have Glenn Beck misspelling "oligarchy" going through my head right now?)

Still, you haven't dealt with any of the substantive issues. Is labelling your political opponents "immoral," as Krugman has called for, accetpable to you? Is advocating for a "housing bubble" at one time, and then blasting those people who provided said housing bubble (AND not acknowledging his earlier championing of the bubble marlet) not deeply dishonest?

Your response has been "But he's a PhD in economics!!" To which respond, "Exactly!" His education credentials doesn't lessen his responsibility for his pronouncements, it increases them. If anyone should have been able to anticipate the adverse economic effects of the housing bubble shouldn't it have been PhD's in Economics? The thing is, Krugman is not speaking as an academic, he is speaking as the advocate of a political party/ideology. He does not get some sort of special dispensation because of his educational credentials. The thing is, I think Krugman is smart, which is why I believe he knows exactly what he is doing when he lies, leaves out information, contradicts himself, attempts to morally impugn his opponents, etc. He is doing it in the hopes of gaining a poltical advantage from it. That's fine, but there is a good reason no one on the right ever pays him any mind. He is not an honest person, and because of that I have no respect for him. (Which puts him in the company of Gary Wills, Joe Klein - who I actually defended from an even more whacked out individual- and Juan Cole.) So, you have to do a lot to get into that kinda territory with me.

But, if you want to make a definitive pronouncement about me after reading a couple of posts, that's fine too.

Zut Alors! said...

Iconic Midwesterner,

Ah, that digression about Ph.D.s was fun.

Nonetheless, you still have not demonstrated how Krugman lied about the IBD editorial. I have put the question to you plainly in almost every one of my posts and you still have not managed to do so.

Krugman did not lie about Hawking's view of the NHS, instead he accurately paraphrased a recent statement by Hawking on that topic. Krugman did ridicule the IBD's statement that people with severe disabilities "wouldn't have a chance" in the U.K. because of the NHS because that is rubbish. (You conceded the "essential worthless" part was overblown, but you still have not yet addressed "wouldn't have a chance.") You seem to argue that Krugman should issue a correction because the IBD found quotes by Hawking's wife and father that indicate they find fault with the NHS. However, Krugman's column only referenced Hawking, so no lie there. Lastly, the new IBD editorial that you are so impressed by argues that life with motor neurone disease is "no bed of roses" in the UK under the NHS. Of course, that implies that life with motor neurone disease is a bed of roses in the U.S. with private insurance or it clearly indicates that the IBD, in an effort to save face, cam to the obvious conclusion life with motor neurone disease is difficult no matter where you live and how your medical care is paid for.

Where is Krugman's LIE about the IBD editorial? Surely, a professor of political philosophy could clearly explain this to fair-minded reader.

The Iconic Midwesterner said...

Krugman did not lie about Hawking's view of the NHS, instead he accurately paraphrased a recent statement by Hawking on that topic.

Think about this statement. Is this the truth? You make it sound as if Hawking was, apropos nothing, making a statement about the NHS. But was that really the context here? Wasn't he, in actuality, responding to questions arising directly from the IBD editorial? How exactly was the IBD editorial supposed to take into account statements Hawking had not yet made, particularly when they contradict inforation in the same person's biography? Krugman, by acting as if IBD has some sort of time machine, is being deeply dishonest in his portrayal of the events. (Yes, believe it or not, context does matter!)

Ah, that digression about Ph.D.s was fun.

And begun by you I might add.

Lastly, the new IBD editorial that you are so impressed by argues that life with motor neurone disease is "no bed of roses" in the UK under the NHS. Of course, that implies that life with motor neurone disease is a bed of roses in the U.S. with private insurance or it clearly indicates that the IBD

Uh no. The point was made in the aftermath of the IBD editorial that Hawking's case proves the superiority of the NHS system. (Quoting IBD, "but it didn't stop the Internet Left and the likes of New York Times columnist Paul Krugman from suggesting Hawking's life proved the value of the U.K. system.") Obviously, the term "bed of roses" was being used euphemistically (def. "The act or an example of substituting a mild, indirect, or vague term for one considered harsh, blunt, or offensive"). (If that is really what you are hanging your argument on, you are really clutching at straws.)

So lets take stock shall we?

To read Krugman one would be led to believe Hawking's care was primarily supplied by the NHS, who he gives sole props for keeping Hawking alive.

True or false? Turns out it is false. (What do we call it again when people make statements that are false??) As Hawking's biogrpahy proves (and NO ONE HAS DISPUTED IT), Hawking recieved private care paid for by American donors.

But Krugman is above facts I guess.

In the end your argument is "IBD was right, but accidently right - so it doesnt count."

Yeah, real persuasive.

The Iconic Midwesterner said...


You state: Surely, a professor of political philosophy could clearly explain this to fair-minded reader.

Well, if one shows up maybe we shall see. lol

For example, you castigate me for calling Krugman names. I responded by telling you why, linking to posts where Krugman calls one group of ideological opponents "traitors to the planet", and another where he defines another group (basically all non-Democrats) "immoral."

Your response? Nothing.

Further, when I post something contradicting Krugman on his veracity, you respond by attacking the academic credentials of Brian Riedl. Quoting you:

he [Riedl} is not an economist: he has a BS in economics (and political science) and a MA in public policy....The idea that Riedl is a credible commentator on economic matters is laughable.

Granted, I didn't even nail you on the fact that the question involved (i.e. the Federal budget) is, strictly speaking, more a matter of public policy then straight economics (and therefore in Riedl's field more than Krugman's.) But, even accepting your response without question, how am I supposed to treat Krugman's "traitors to the planet" comments. After all, the folks he is calling such things include various experts in climatology. Isn't that too "laughable"? Wouldn't any "fair minded" individual think Krugman is way the hell further afield to be making such judgements, asopposed to Riedl?

I get this kind of thing a lot from students these days. They dont seem to realize that the people who are most in need of "opening their minds" are those yelling at other people to open their minds.

Zut Alors! said...

iconic midwesterner,

You of all people should not winge about name-calling. A look at recent posts finds you calling Obama a "mobster", Reid an "enemy" of the American people, Krugman a "scumbag" and a "lair" Weisberg a "retard," and on and on.

You still have not shown Krugman to have lied about the Hawking imbroglio. It is a simple question where is the lie? Quit dodging it or admit your error. Indeed, you have not demonstrated that you even have the read the documents in dispute, i.e., the first IBD editorial and Krugman's posts and column. Instead you keep quoting IBD's second editorial. Hawking's life does not prove that the NHS regards people with severe disabilities to be "essentially worthless" and thus not given "a chance" as the IBD said it should apologize for those lies, but instead complains about unfair treatment.

The IBD's piece was a ridiculously ill-informed and pathetic attempt to exploit the suffering a person with a severe disability for political gain. The editors of the IBD deserved the scorn they received and should apologize. Instead they doubled down, compounding their error with cynicism.

As far as the alleged lie about economics that you posted from Riedl (not fit to be an adjunct at at a community college), I'm trying to take on one alleged Krugman lie at a time. This is the most recent one and requires no expertise in economics and just a handle of statements in a like number of documents. If you cannot prove this one, which should be low-lying fruit, then it seems unlikely that you will be successful with the rest. The fact that you quickly tried to change the subject to other purported Krugman lies suggests that you realize this a weak case.

P.S. For the record, I do have a Ph.D. (in the history of science) and I have published a half dozen articles in peer-reviewed journals. I realize how little I know about even my areas of expertise, let alone other fields in my discipline and the vast sum of human knowledge in philosophy, the social sciences, and the natural sciences. For these reasons, I respect expertise from climatologists, economists, evolutionary biologists, and the like. Krugman offers a helpful corrective to economists or scientists sneering at the social sciences and humanities which seems apropos: "The general rule to remember is that if some discipline seems less developed than your own, it’s probably not because the researchers aren’t as smart as you are, it’s because the subject is harder." (April 22, 2008 blog posting)

The Iconic Midwesterner said...

Krugaman stated, as any reasonable reading of Krugman would indicate, that Hawking was alive and recieved better care because he was in the NHS. But, in fact, Hawking recieved private care in a private hospital with private money. So, Krugman made a non-factual statement, and did so as a key component of his political argument (i.e. not giving us a true understanding of the context helped his argument, AND a true understanding of the context (Hawking's non-NHS care would have directly undercut Krugman's argument.) Omitting information in order to give a false impression of your arguemnt IS LYING.

For example, were I running a drug trial and I selected out adverse reaction to the drug in some patients and instead only reported the results from those patients who responded well to the medication, wouldn't that be an example of a lie? I sure think so. You seem to think otherwise. For some reason you seem to be saying its ok to lie (if one is left of center presumably) if you do so to boost your political point...or to do so isn't lying anymore.

I'll admit...I don't get it.

Your attitude here seems to be that there is no collection of facts that could redeem the IBD position. Therefore facts you dont like (like the private care HAwking got after his family deemed the NHS care unsuitable) you ignore. In fact you call the revelation of such facts "cynicism." Orwell would be proud. Your theory of the matter, thus, is unfalsifiable. Facts that contradict the theory are re-defined as "cynicism" and thus no new facts can ever contradict. Q.E.D.

Oh, and PUHLEEEESE. I never said I had an issue with name calling, YOU DID. It isn't the name "traitor to the planet" I'm objecting to, its the intellectual content/meaning of such a phrase. It is a phrase (some despicable) people are using who call for a "Nuremberg Trial" for scientists who do not toe a specific ideological agenda. It is a morally and intellectually bankrupt idea that no rational person should adopt, which probably explains why it was so attractive to Krugman. It is an attitude so anti-thetical to the idea of free inquiry it beggars belief. I'm sorry, but anyone who adopts such an idea IS a scumbag. It isn't a case of someone being tarred with an epitath, Krugman has earned it.

BTW I love how you bring up something, to which I respond, and then blame ME for changing the subject.

So, which Krugman lie do you want me to point out the pertinent information? Krugman's claim that Federal spending on education didn't increase from 2000-2003. But if you look at the budget records from the time Krugman was wrong. Dead wrong, and any high school student writing a term paper could have gotten it right. Krugman, writing for the New York Times, cant get good information. WHat BS. HE lied, (or he was too lazy to look it up, which would be even more damning.)

Oh, what were the numbers? (Look to pg 50-51).

Education Spending:

2000: $53.7b
2002: $70.5b

The Dept. of Education alone outlayed (pg 95-96):

2000: $32.2b
2002: $55.7b

What is Krugman gonna call that? Inflation???

Now, remember, according to you Krugman is the expert here. How does he have his basic facts so utterly wrong here? Either he is an utter fraud or he was lying in order to further the ideological point he was making.

Zut Alors! said...

iconic midwesterner,

Krugman wrote: "It was the blooper heard round the world. In an editorial denouncing Democratic health reform plans, Investor’s Business Daily tried to frighten its readers by declaring that in Britain, where the government runs health care, the handicapped physicist Stephen Hawking 'wouldn’t have a chance,' because the National Health Service would consider his life 'essentially worthless.' Professor Hawking, who was born in Britain, has lived there all his life, and has been well cared for by the National Health Service, was not amused."

There are no lies there. It is true that Hawking receives some care via a private foundation (apparently visits by nurses), but not all of his medical care is private. Indeed, he was treated by the NHS in April to great success by Hawking's own account in the Guardian.

The only "facts"t that could redeem the IBD's editorial would be (1) Hawking was an American (which was the premise under which IBD was operating when it wrote the editorial); (2) the NHS declared Hawking to be "essentially worthless" and he "didn't have a chance" to live; (3) the NHS declares ordinary people (rather than outstanding scientists) with severe disabilities to be "essentially worthless" and doesn't give them "a chance" to live; (4) Hawking said the NHS gave him substandard care because of his disability. Since 1, 2, and 3 are obviously out and you and the IBD pin your hopes on 4, but Hawking contradicts that as well. In response to the IBD editorial, Hawking stated, "I have received a large amount of high-quality treatment without which I would not have survived." Q.E.D. One Krugman "lie" debunked.

Neither you nor the IBD have produced any evidence suggesting that people with motor neurone disease fare better in the U.S. than in the U.K., which is actually the real point in dispute.

The Iconic Midwesterner said...

link: "The most comprehensive UK study was conducted more than 15 years ago. This study examines trends in mortality from MND in England & Wales, and Scotland, between 1975 and 2004. Age, gender, and cause-specific mortality rates were calculated for the period 1975-2004 using national data from England & Wales, and Scotland. Rates were directly age-standardized to the European standard population. Trends in mortality rates over time were examined for men and women separately, as well as by the age groups 0-59 years, and 60 or more years. MND mortality rates rose steadily over the 30-year period 1975-2004 in both sexes in England & Wales, and Scotland. There is a clear upward trend in all four groups (p for trend <0.001)."

Now we can look at this abstract:

"There is considerable debate about the increasing mortality from motor neurone disease (MND). However, examination of the relationship between increased life expectancy (through decreased general mortality) and increased mortality in both England and Wales and the United States indicates a close association between the two variables. Using a statistical model, defined sub-populations susceptible to MND can be identified in both countries. The size of such a sub-population has been estimated from the 1989 mortality data to be approximately 160 000 people in England and Wales. The proportion of this sub-population dying from MND has increased over the last 30 years, rather than, as previously, dying at an earlier age from other conditions. On this basis, deaths from MND are expected to increase by a further 20% in this sub-population between 1991-2021 because of continuing changes in life expectancy. MND is a condition made increasingly visible in mortality statistics through decreased general mortality, rather than one in which the underlying population at risk has substantially changed. Aetiological extrapolations from the data indicate that susceptibility to the disease is acquired early in life, and that it is unlikely, given the relative stability of the underlying sub-population, that either changed environmental circumstances or artifactual factors can account in themselves for the rise in mortality."

So, there seems to be no difference at all in the rates of MND mortality when the US is compared to the UK.

Such a conclusion neither proves the IBD editorial NOR the Krugman rebuttal (as he claimed a positive benefit). As such either both were lying or neither are.

Your call.

As I'd prefer to call Krugman a liar, I'll call them both liars.

No skin off my nose.