Here’s an unproductive exchange between Paul Krugman and Joe Scarborough on the subject of the changes by the Census Bureau in the way it evaluates health care information. Â First, here’s Scarborough on the changes:
“Listen, the White Houses on both sides do their best to cook the books,” he said. “This is a particularly clumsy effort.”
Krugman then observes:
“You can argue that the Census decision to change its health-insurance questionnaire starting with the 2013 data wasnâ€™t such a good idea â€” in fact, I know a number of health care experts who are dismayed,” wrote Krugman, a liberal columnist and Nobel Prize-winning economist. “But itâ€™s really quite vile to haveÂ talk-show hostsÂ who quite literally know nothing about the field, other than that theyâ€™re against covering the uninsured, casually accusing Census of â€œcooking the booksâ€ to support Obamacare.” (Link in the original.)
Note the concession, in bold. Â Now Joe Scarborough responds:
“Paul’s shrill attack is off target and wrong, as usual. I just hope the good professor can work through the humiliation of his debate performance against me and will soon stop being driven to post silly attacks because of his feelings of inadequacy. I’m pulling for him,”
Krugman alleged Scarborough didn’t offer any evidence for his assertion that the books are being cooked; nonetheless, he attempts to move the ball forward here by conceding that the change might not have been wise; Scarborough ignores that, and declines to offer evidence for his assertion (or address the charge) opting instead for a textbook ad hominem. Â This is how you make the big money folks.
On a related matter: could the authors at Salon and Talking Points Memo stop describing such interactions as “slams” or “rips”? Â It’s dumb.