Friday, September 24, 2004

Economists Who Live In Glass Houses...

In the land of the self-unaware, there is attempted regicide:

The subtext of Mr. Bush's bombast is that because he can't bring himself to admit a mistake, he refuses to give up on his effort....

Which is a tactic on which the Princeton economist is something of an expert (selecting almost at random from his website):

A few people have asked me about that letter from Bush's former business associates, regarding the nature of his deal with the Texas Rangers syndicate. They assert something I didn't know: that he was granted a 12 percent share of the profits despite having put up only 2 percent of the money back in 1989, when the deal was initialized, rather than in 1998, when the franchise was sold. Assuming this is true - it would be nice to see the contract - does this make everything clean and above-board?

Actually, if anything it makes things worse. In fact, I suspect that the peculiarity of that contract, if it exists, is why we're only hearing about it now: had it been public knowledge at the time it would have raised a lot of questions.

Perish the thought! Someone can't bear to admit he redoubles his effort by packing four more errors into one sentence:

1. Bush's contract was not only not "peculiar", it was SOP. He was the Managing General Partner of a limited partnership, that Bush had put together to buy the Texas Rangers. Unlike the limited partners, George W. Bush didn't have limited liability; that's why his share of the profits was larger than his investment. He was the one taking on risk beyond his investment.

2. The contract most certainly existed. He wouldn't have been allowed to purchase the team by the Commissioner of Baseball without it.

3. We weren't "just hearing about it now" (August 2002), for instance, in 1999:

Bush and [Edward, Rusty] Rose, it was agreed, would have joint power in running the franchise, with Rose behind the scenes and Bush serving as the ownership's public face. Bush's total investment eventually would reach $606,302. For putting the deal together and running the club, Bush would receive an additional 10 percent return when the team was sold.

4. It was public knowledge, and Bush won an election in Arlington, Texas to have a taxpayer funded baseball stadium built.

Now, let's get back to Professor Krugman's mistakes in today's column ("Let's Get Real", indeed):

Where is Mr. Bush taking us? As the reality of Iraq gets worse, his explanations of our goals get ever vaguer. ....

.... American policy shouldn't be dictated by Mr. Bush's infallibility complex; our first priority must be our own security. And in Iraq, that means setting realistic goals.

On "Meet The Press" back in April, Mr. Kerry wasn't as forthright about Iraq as he has now, at long last, become, but he did return several times to a point that shows that he is on the right track. "What is critical," he said, "is a stable Iraq." Not an Iraq in our image, but a country that isn't a "failed state" that poses a threat to American security.

Hmmm. Sounds suspiciously, unspecific, to me. Not to mention; "exactly what we're currently doing."

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