Mar 21, 2012

Mea Culpa

I should take another look at this post from yesterday. I saw this post by Conn Carroll and was exercised, rightly I think, by the howling errors contained therein. Obamacare's costs have doubled, he argues, by comparing summations of costs which included not only different sets of years in which the program was active, but also just different numbers of years. It wasn't just an apples-to-oranges fallacy, it was different numbers of apples and oranges. A more elementary error would be hard to imagine.

Energized by the old Someone Is Wrong on the Internet juice, and the correct possibility that I might get some traffic from the liberal healthcare wing, I banged out a quick bit of lefty snarking, calling Carroll all sorts of nasty names. In my hurry, I included not only the above critiques, but a comment about how a $1.76 trillion "gross costs" figure he mentioned did not appear in the CBO report.

I was wrong about this. Not only was the figure in the report, it was in the tables I posted, which made me look, frankly, like the kind of irresponsible hack that I was (correctly) accusing Carroll of being. This has no bearing on the validity of the previous two critiques, which are more cogent anyway. Carroll's argument is completely and utterly bogus. But it damaged the post, my credibility, and most importantly, made me feel like I had violated my own standards. I promise, in the future, to look twice before I hit publish, and never let my delight in discovering staggeringly boneheaded errors in a post slide into concluding that everything that person says is equally boneheaded.

You deserve better, loyal readers, and I apologize.

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