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Niall Ferguson Paul Krugman

Krugman: “multiple errors and misrepresentations” in Newsweek article

19 Aug, 2012

Paul Krugman reacts to Ferguson’s claim that the Congressional Budget Office had said that Obamacare would increase the deficit:

There are multiple errors and misrepresentations in Niall Ferguson’s cover story in Newsweek — I guess they don’t do fact-checking — but this is the one that jumped out at me. Ferguson says:

The president pledged that health-care reform would not add a cent to the deficit. But the CBO and the Joint Committee on Taxation now estimate that the insurance-coverage provisions of the ACA will have a net cost of close to $1.2 trillion over the 2012–22 period.

Readers are no doubt meant to interpret this as saying that CBO found that the Act will increase the deficit. But anyone who actually read, or even skimmed, the CBO report knows that it found that the ACA would reduce, not increase, the deficit — because the insurance subsidies were fully paid for.

Krugman concludes:

We’re not talking about ideology or even economic analysis here — just a plain misrepresentation of the facts, with an august publication letting itself be used to misinform readers. The Times would require an abject correction if something like that slipped through. Will Newsweek?