Last night, Stephen Colbert laid waste to the now-debunked Reinhart-Rogoff paper that claimed countries with a debt-to-GDP ratio of greater than 90% would lead to calamity was actually based on both an Excel spreadsheet error, as well as removing countries from the dataset that didn't fit into their preconceived notions. Stephen actually had on Thomas Herndon, the grad student who found the crucial mistake.
And just look at the Poindexter who caught the mistakes — Thomas Herndon, who reviewed their data and immediately spotted a basic spreadsheet error and that they had "excluded data from Canada, New Zealand, and Australia — all countries that experienced solid growth during periods of high debt and would thus undercut their their thesis".Video below the fold.
Oh please. If ignoring New Zealand, Australia, and Canada were a crime, everyone in America would be on death row. (high fives arm under his desk, wild audience laughter and applause)
Now sure, Herndon's corrected spreadsheet show that countries with debt over 90% did not see their economies shrink -0.1%, but instead saw them grow 2.2%.
But c'mon. 2.2% up, 0.1% down; you say potato, I say eliminate food stamps. And for Pete's sake, how were Ren and Stimpy supposed to know that their paper — which has brought austerity to millions — was flawed? It wasn't peer-reviewed. (audience groans in disgust)
So, no one needs to fact-check them. It's not like they said they were watching Scooby Doo when they were 4.
Now after publication in 2010, one economist complained that they refused to share their data. Well, of course they didn't share their data. If they can't use Excel, I doubt they could send an e-mail attachment. (audience laughter)
But folks, Siegfried and Roy are standing by their results, saying:CARMEN REINHART & KENNETH ROGOFF (4/16/2013): The weight of the evidence to date — including this latest comment [by Herndon] seems entirely consistent with our original interpretation of the data.Right! Entirely consistent with their interpretation, because no matter how much the results change, the hypothesis must remain the same. That's science!
Well folks, now that I know academic papers don't have to be all mathy to make a global impact, I got some of my own completely unsupported findings I would like to drop.
For instance:Hydrofracking Makes Your Ass Look Better in Jeans(wild audience cheering and applause)
Crude Oil: Nature's Egret Moisturizer
And Holster V. Bra: How Gun Control Causes Manboobs
And, unlike Banger and Mash, my studies are peer-reviewed, in that I showed them to some seagulls on a pier.
And I can say with absolute certainty, that I did not make a single error in my Excel spreadsheet, because for these studies, I used Angry Birds: Star Wars. Bottom line, Bartels & James' study is still valid, no matter what some punk UMass Amherst econ grad student named Thomas Herndon says. And when we return, I'll be joined by punk-ass Amherst econ grad student Thomas Herndon. We'll be right back.