For listeners of my radio show, you’ll know that most Fridays we do a segment called Ezra Klein is an Idiot. We don’t just call out the fallacies of Klein during the segment, however. We include liberals like Al Sharpton and John Boehner too, who both recently bemoaned the effects of sequester on our economy.
Our real problems of course aren’t the dramatic and manufactured small things like sequester or the “fiscal cliff” that are made up by Washington wonks to keep the gravy train rolling. They are much more complex, and more dangerous.
It takes a long time to produce weather, for example. I learned this in a geology class that I took back in college at the University of Maryland. It was the hardest class I ever took, because it’s a complex and difficult science with too many variables to be manageable.
The most reliable forecast of weather events is only about 3-4 days, still, even with satellite technology. After that, forecasts aren’t accurate enough to be functional. As the folks at WaPo weather blog put it: “In the 5-7 day period and beyond, weather details become fairly unpredictable.”
Weather is a very complex interplay of forces- if global warming apologists would be honest- that haven’t yet been adequately modeled or understood.
The same goes for economics.
There are many theories out there about economics, but forecasting economic trends is even trickier than forecasting weather. How does one account for a tsunami in Japan- an unforeseeable weather event- that impacted world GDP in 2011?
Well, the honest answer is that you can’t account for it.
But you can account for the “wonks” at the Washington Post to try to have it both ways.
Ezra Klein has tried to school Niall Ferguson recently because Ferguson has long believed that Obama’s policies will lead to inflation and higher interest rates.
Critics like to point out that interest rates are lower and that inflation remains moderate. To which I would add: So far.
And as to inflation, it’s not all that cut and dried after all.