Tuesday, September 9, 2008

When is a Gaffe not a Gaffe

Courtesy of Atrios, Leslie Wayne of the NYT explains why Palin's gaffe on Fannie and Freddie is somehow not a gaffe:

“They’ve gotten too big and too expensive to taxpayers,” she said. “The McCain-Palin administration will make them smaller and smarter and more effective for homeowners who need help.”

Ms. Palin’s statement went largely unnoticed by political reporters, who are often more schooled in political rhetoric than economic theory. But left-leaning blogs and others have picked it up and are portraying it as a gaffe, noting that Fannie and Freddie are not government entities but instead are private-sector companies.

I see, if a simple statement of fact is not "political rhetoric", reporters don't understand it. Now I understand why outright lying about your opponents economic plan is not considered taboo by most of the mainstream press any more. They just can't be bothered to deal with basic knowledge about how the world works, y'know like reading the non-partisan Tax Policy Center's report on the two campaign's economic plans...in other words reporting.

By the way...Atrios suggests that economic theory actually looks like this. For anyone going to grad school today it looks like this:

...and there's definitely nothing on Fannie or Freddie in there!


Ken Houghton said...

Mas Collel is for people who can't take Varian straight.

(Also, as I noted in comments at Eschaton, the Wikipedia article only lists two Fundamental Theorems of Welfare Economics. If Arnold Harberger weren't still alive and doing well, he'd be rolling over in his grave.)

Anonymous said...

While they are privately owned, the reason why they exist is that the federal government created them and the reason why they are able to do what they do is that the federal government has given them its blessing--the credibility of the government sustains them because everyone knew that, if they ever got into trouble, the federal government would step in and rescue them. It did.

I blame the government for this one. They created one monster and then let it go, but it grew too strong, so they created another monster to counter it. Now, we've got two monsters running around and everyone knows who created them and who would have to deal with them if they became unstable. And, now, can the monsters be tamed?