Why oh why can't we have a better press corps?
Niall Ferguson: Niall Ferguson: The Shutdown Is a Sideshow. Debt Is the Threat:
A year ago, the CBO's extended baseline series for the federal debt in public hands projected a figure of 52% of GDP by 2038. That figure has very nearly doubled to 100%…
A year ago, the CBO was required by law to calculate its extended baseline by assuming that all of the tax cuts originally put in place in 2001 and 2003 would expire at the end of 2012, and never be reinstated. A year ago the CBO warned everybody who read its report about this, and told them to look not at the extended baseline but at the alternative scenario--which this year shows a 2038 debt-to-GDP outcome not 48% points worse but instead 30% points better than last year's.
No. I don't know whether Niall Ferguson does or doesn't understand the CBO's reports. I really do not know what he thinks he is doing. What he is doing with thing alike this--pretending that there has been an extraordinary deterioration over the past year in the CBO's long-term budget outlook when everyone who understands the budget and CBO knows that there has been an improvement is further misleading the readers of the Wall Street Journal editorial page, and further shredding his credibility with his peers.
He really needs to stop.