Pursuing the Agenda

by Dave Schuler on July 10, 2014

I originally had a much longer essay on this subject which I’ve decided to scrap in favor of simply mentioning that over at the Wall Street Journal Alan Reynolds has an op-ed noting the problems with the alternative data on U. S. wealth inequality to which rock star economist Thomas Piketty has drawn attention in preference to his own:

In his book, Mr. Piketty constructed estimates of top wealth shares, decade by decade, melding and massaging different kinds of data (estate tax records, the Federal Reserve’s Survey of Consumer Finances). These estimates are suspect in their own right; but as we now learn from Mr. Piketty’s response to Mr. Giles, we can ignore them.

Yet Mr. Piketty’s preferred alternative, the Zucman-Saez slide show, is also irreparably flawed as a guide to wealth concentration. Mr. Piketty’s premonition of soaring U.S. wealth shares for the top 1% finds no credible support in his book or elsewhere.

Things have changed a lot since Pay Moynihan was around. Now everybody does have their own facts.

{ 9 comments… read them below or add one }

Guarneri July 10, 2014 at 10:46 am

Data interpretation is one thing. But suspect data and suspect data sampling are another. Add in the attempt to stifle debate and you have a mess. Hence my dismissiveness these days of so many “studies” cited here and elsewhere – economic, scientific and medical.

What is it now, 18 years of tons upon tons of CO2 into the atmosphere with no rise in temperatures? Question the assumptions? Nope. Change the label: AGW —> Climate Change —-> Extreme Weather. Those last two are most amenable to real analysis, eh? Well, at least on The View.

You just wait, it won’t be long until it will be a seamless transition to global cooling brought on by………..CO2. Dutifully reported in the press, chanted to the sky by believers and declared settled science. There will be only one unifying theme: what do we tax, and to whom do I apply for a grant?

TastyBits July 10, 2014 at 11:52 am


You need to modify your statement. The rising CO2 levels are not producing the temperatures predicted by the AGW computer models. Otherwise, you get into temperature debates. The stimulus package has the same problems.

Debate them on their terms. They made claims about the model. If the predictions are garbage, the model is garbage. If the model is garbage, anything based upon the model is garbage. You know this from an engineering standpoint, but never assume they understand or care.

Guarneri July 10, 2014 at 12:45 pm


That’s fine. I understand the point. There is a bottom line here. I’m convinced the current full court press in the media is because they know the clock is ticking until people move on from all the crying wolf. These AGW folks can read the polls too.

I still believe that the change to some other claimed looming climate catastrophe will occur. They have the school system; they can bend young minds. They have the popular press. And memories are short. Have I told you that American progressives are an “advanced intellectual species” and that conservatives are racist, homophobic, greedy rubes hell bent on poisoning the earth, starving the poor, warmongering the earth and collecting all the monopoly chips? Its true. I have “data.” Plus, Joy Behar and Reynolds told me so. So there.

steve July 10, 2014 at 2:10 pm

1) Piketty actually explained why he did not use the other data. He invited other people to publish their own. So Reynolds is both taking a cheap shot and lazy. The latter is not acceptable.

2) It is worse than you think Drew. They are now teaching physics majors totally incorrect physics and false math just so they will believe that data on climate change. Why just the other day he had a math problem that required him to believe that 2+2=4. Such tripe. No wonder physics majors today think climate change is real. His mind is totally bent. Sigh.


michael reynolds July 10, 2014 at 3:23 pm


Yeah, but you’re getting your facts from scientists, you should be getting them from Fox News like Drew does. Steve Doocy isn’t fooled by math.

TastyBits July 10, 2014 at 4:31 pm


While fiction writers and politicians believe the AGW computer models work, everybody else understands they are garbage. This is why they are defended by fiction writers and politicians only.

If your son is/was attending a college where the physics department was teaching otherwise, I would suggest you request a refund.

When physicists speak about physics, they are either very exact about the known or openly unsure about the unknown. They do not use weasel words or sound like politicians except when speaking about AWG.

The science has been settled. AGW has been dead for some time, but the fiction writers and politicians have not gotten the news.

Guarneri July 10, 2014 at 5:28 pm


That was a rather simple minded comment you made. Its not about 2+2, its about data integrity. And those comments are miles apart.

Guarneri July 10, 2014 at 5:28 pm

issues, that is

... July 10, 2014 at 6:08 pm

The idea of AGW is simple enough, and there is data that shows a big build up of CO2 in the atmosphere and, I believe, in the concentration of CO2 in the oceans. But the computer models have been utter failures of prediction. It seems silly to listen to a scientist who claims we have 18 months to act or all life is doomed when the same guys were saying similar things fifteen years ago.

And these predictions of doom are simply stupid. The climate is going to change, regardless. It has in the past, and precipitously, to more extreme conditions than predicted.

But, you know, SCIENCE, say people like Reynolds. Of course, he’s bragged to me in the past of his general ignorance abd complete inability to do much more than add, so maybe I’d better listen up. I mean, how can you question an ignoramus shouting “SCIENCE!” all the time?

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