The Plank

Mccain's Not Very Big Guns

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In a post entitled "The Booming of the Big Guns," Peter Robinson boasts that the McCain campaign has gotten "100 economists" to sign a statement warning of the grave effects of Barack Obama's economic program.

This statement strikes me as far less devastating than Robinson makes it out to be. First, 100 economists is not actually all that many, given the number of economists in our country. Second, the list of signatories actually has only 90 economists on it. (Count for yourself.) This trouble with basic arithmetic might explain the McCain campaign's stated beliefs in such fallacies as tax hikes always cause revenues to fall.

Was the campaign unable to find 100 economists? The list certainly does not suggest excessive discrimination about credentials. It's heavily larded with GOP apparatchiks now residing in the right-wing think tank world (my favorite is "economist" George Schultz of the Hoover Institution), as well as two signatories who list their affiliation as "McCain-Palin 2008." The takeaway here is that, even with the most generous standards, the campaign couldn't find 100 economists in the country to badmouth Obama's proposals, let alone endorse their own.

Update: A survey of academic economists by The Economist finds overwhelming preference for Obama's platform.

--Jonathan Chait

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