Wednesday, April 24, 2013

Stephen Colbert Made A Complete Laughingstock Of Reinhart, Rogoff, Paul Ryan, And The Austerity Movement

Joe Weisenthal 

A big theme this past week has been the decline of the austerity movement.
Austerity has been discredited as a path to economic prosperity for awhile. But last week, a paper by a graduate student (UMass Amherst's Thomas Herndon) debunked the famous Reinhart & Rogoff study, which had claimed that growth slows precipitously when a country's debt rises above 90% of GDP.
Since then, in Europe, we've seen a backlash against austerity from various names, whether it's the International Monetary Federation criticizing the UK, fund manager Bill Gross critizing the UK, or European Commission President Jose Manuel Barroso talking about the limits to austerity.
And now all of this has broken through to the mainstream with last night's Colbert Report, where Thomas Herndon was the guest.
Colbert had two segments devoted to making the austerians look like total laughingstocks.
One was the actual interview with Herndon. The other came as part of a news roundup, where he mocked Paul Ryan and "Rogaine and Braveheart."
It's one of those cultural moments where you can see the losing side made to look like fools in mass media.
Incidentally, this is exactly what Paul Krugman predicted last week would be the significance of Herndon's paper:
The point is that the next time Olli Rehn, or George Osborne, or Paul Ryan declares, sententiously, that we must have austerity because serious economists (i.e., not Krugman and friends) tell us that debt is a terrible thing, people in the audience will snicker — which they should have been doing all along, but now it has become socially acceptable...................................................

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