The Cato Institute invited a number of economists to present their view on policies that would promote economic growth. Douglas Holtz-Eakin, who was Mitt Romney's economic adviser in his failed presidential campaign, presented his ideas at the Cato conference. Brad DeLong read his presentation and gave it a failing grade. There was nothing new in the presentation; it consisted of the stale nostrums that have always been at the center of Republican economic policy. That is, cut spending on entitlements, reduce the regulatory burden on business, reduce business taxes and privatize the failing public education system. DeLong did not give Holtz-Eakin a failing grade for making the wrong recommendations. He failed him for supporting his recommendations with weak and often faulty data. Holtz-Eakin probably felt comfortable making his presentation to a supportive audience, but he ruined whatever was left of his reputation as an economist for Brad DeLong who once regarded him as a colleague who would have given a failing grade to any economist who would have displayed a similar disregard for economic literacy. DeLong's critique of the evidence and data that Holtz-Eakin used to support his economic growth recommendations is withering and it provides a good lesson on the misuse of data by economists who have chosen to become political hacks.
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