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Chris G
scientist and engineer
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>It is time for ordinary USAnians to engage in a lot of serious introspection and self-criticism. Don't hold your breath. Introspection and self-criticism aren't our strong suits. They run counter to that whole "American exceptionalism" thing. > I doubt this will happen until it's too late. I doubt that it will ever happen but, if it does, I have no doubt that it will happen until after its too late to salvage what currently passes for civilization in these parts. "There’s a big difference between the task of trying to sustain “civilisation” in its current form... and the task of holding open a space for the things which make life worth living. I’d suggest that it’s this second task, in its many forms, which remains, after we’ve given up on false hopes." (http://dark-mountain.net/blog/what-do-you-do-after-you-stop-pretending/) Time to let go of false hopes.
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Here's a particularly egregious forecasting failure - https://www.whitehouse.gov/blog/2015/07/14/decline-long-term-interest-rates Check the "10-Year Treasury Forecasts and Historical Economic Forecasts" chart. An appropriate caption would be "I refuse to learn anything from new data." Whoever was charged with making those forecasts - particularly the 2010 and 2015 ones - should be really embarrassed.
Toggle Commented Sep 24, 2016 on Links for 09-24-16 at Economist's View
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"All models are wrong but some are useful." - George Box Ref - https://en.wikiquote.org/wiki/George_E._P._Box I find it remarkable that, in general, economists who believe in models pay so little attention to out-of-sample performance. Getting a model to perform in-sample is the easy part. Out-of-sample performance is how you gauge utility. Math is a means to an end. Sexy math is worthless if it doesn't facilitate accurate forecasts.
Toggle Commented Sep 24, 2016 on Links for 09-24-16 at Economist's View
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> A statistical evaluation of which models are the best predictors might be informative. +1 Repeating a comment I made yesterday re "Janet Yellen's Inflation Problem" - On the accuracy of forecasts... https://www.whitehouse.gov/blog/2015/07/14/decline-long-term-interest-rates Check out the "10 Year Treasury Rates and Historical Economic Forecasts" chart. Are the inflation expectations forecasts any more accurate?
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Nice column. It paints a clear picture. >Instead of raising prices as wages increase firms could choose to lower the share of income that is going to profits... After decades of rising inequality and stagnant wages workers deserve every chance they can get for their share of national income to increase. That, I suspect, would/will be fought tooth and nail.
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> 5. Still haven't a single criticism from these "left leaning" economists why Sanders policies would be overall bad. Instead, they are focusing on specific numbers... Perhaps because they're academics? Personally, I think I'd be pretty happy if growth turned out to be even half of what Friedman predicted. Magnitude of GDP growth isn't high on my list when deciding which candidate I prefer.* As far as I'm concerned the bottom line is, "Are the candidates economic policies likely to make things better if enacted?" That's a yes/no? I care about there being a rational basis for arriving at the yes/no decision but beyond yes or no I don't care much about the details. * I'd be put off if rational forecasts suggested a high probability of contraction if the candidate's policies were enacted but, given that forecasting models don't appear don't appear to be very accurate on the details, I place much more weight on the sign of the forecast than on the magnitude.
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Jan 22, 2016