The Heritage Foundation embarrasses itself with numbers… again.

problems measuring austerity

problems measuring austerity

The Heritage Foundation doesn’t know what “austerity” means or how to measure it, and just can’t seem to understand how numbers actually work. This is causing some trouble for a party that doesn’t want to be seen as the “party of stupid”.

We’ve written before about how the Heritage Foundation regularly makes predictions that are wildly inaccurate, and normally we are perfectly content to blame liberally-biased “facts” rather than the good conservatives at the Heritage Foundation.  However, in light of recent evidence that Young Republicans don’t want to be part of “a stupid party”, we think it’s time to put our foot down and ask the important question: Heritage Foundation, what the hell is wrong with you?

The most recent topic is that of austerity.  Liberals have been claiming that the conservative notion that “austerity will fix everything” is debunked by the problems in Europe.  “Europe has austerity,” these evil liberals will say, “And their economic situation has gotten worse. That proves you are wrong, Q.E.D, neener-neener.”

The most recent fad going around the internet has been for conservatives to respond by saying, “What Europe has done isn’t really austerity, because they increased taxes instead of cutting spending.  Increasing taxes is what is causing their problems. Real, true, manly austerity is based on cutting spending.”

OK, so they don’t usually use the word “manly”, but you get the idea.

It is important to realize where this idea comes from: The Heritage Foundation.  They have been peddling this idea for a long time now, and have most recently summarized it nicely in the congressional testimony by Salim Furth (PDF).  Instead of “manly”, Dr. Furth uses the term “classic austerity”, presumably because he is aware that the word “austerity” by itself refers to

Definition of austerity

So by adding the word “classic”, he can fudge this a little bit and claim that tax increases are the “wrong” kind of austerity, because they are not “classic”. Or whatever.

The problem is, no matter how you define “austerity”, the Heritage Foundation claim that Europe hasn’t been implementing austerity is wrong.  Dr. Furth claims that European countries have not been decreasing their deficits, but then presents a table showing that their deficits as a percentage of GDP in each year (left side table, above).  In other words, countries that cut their deficits would still show an increase if their GDP dropped by a larger amount.  When the change in the deficit was measured as a percentage of a constant GDP (right side graph, above), the United States, Britain, France, and Spain–all showing increasing deficit in the Heritage Foundation table–can all be seen to have actually decreased their deficits.

But what is even worse is this: even if you allow the Heritage Foundation their notion of “classic” austerity, most of the countries in Europe were still implementing austerity.  According to the OECD, when you compare what percentage of the budget cuts were due to spending cuts versus tax increases in each country, the majority of the countries closed their spending gaps mostly with spending cuts:

EOCD Austerity chart

So it comes down to this: Heritage Foundation, you need to get your act together.  In the past we have been more than happy to defend you on the  grounds that numbers and statistics have a liberal bias.  However, it’s 2013 now…. if you can’t manage to simply get the numbers right in your arguments, you will never shake that reputation of being the “party of stupid”.


For more discussion: Yes, Europe really is in the throes of austerity (WonkBlog)

graphs data sources: OECD
graphs found viaThe Washington Post

related article: Liberal facts conspire to embarrass the Heritage Foundation

Liberal graph claims the 2007 financial crisis is not that bad

Foreign Financial Crisis Comparison

Look at this terrible, socialist graph. According to this graph, the American financial crisis of 2007 has actually done better than 4 out of the 5 top international financial crises. But that is just crazy-talk.

According to this graph, created by noted economist, communist, and kitten-hater Josh Lehner, when you compare the current United State economic crisis, in terms of percent job losses, to the five other biggest international financial crises over the last several decades, the American financial crisis is actually not as deep (i.e. had a smaller total percent job loss at its worst point) and is recovering faster than 4 out of those 5 other crises.

He goes on to suggest, like the typical left-wing nut-job that he is, that this might have something to do with things like international economic factors over which our country has no control and the fiscal stimulus efforts introduced not only in the United States but also in foreign countries. But this is obviously a stupid suggestion since Rush Limbaugh has said repeatedly that the stimulus was a complete failure that did nothing at all.

The biggest problem with this graph, however, is that it compares the United States to other countries. We expect them to have problems that are bigger than ours, because they don’t have as much Freedom.  This is a clear fact because they do not have our constitution, which is the document that Jesus gave us to ensure that we would always have more freedom than everyone else.

We therefore must conclude that the above graph should just be ignored. The only graph that matters is the below graph, which clearly shows that the current recession is much worse than other American recessions:

Recession Comparison Without Liberal Bias

Anyone who dares to suggest that the global market, the international scope of the economic downturn, or foreign financial issues might in any way have anything to do with the “Obama Economic Collapse of 2007” is obviously just spreading liberal bias!!!!


graph created by: Josh Lehner
graph found via:

European unemployment weirdly contradicts conservative values!

Biased Unemployment Numbers

This graph compares the tax rate on the highest income earners in several European countries to the unemployment rates in those countries. We also threw in the good ol’ U.S.A  just for comparison.

As we all know, one of the most fundamental facts that is unquestionably true about conservative economics is that lowering taxes on the rich will cause unemployment to drop, because rich people will say, “Oh Noes, look at all of this extra money I have! I must hire people immediately!”

And yet somehow, the above graph does not seem to reveal this fact.  Weirdly, the graph seems to show absolutely no relationship at all between the top income tax rate that a country has and the unemployment rate that the country has!



Clearly, something is up. Since it is logically impossible for Mitt Romney and Paul Ryan to be wrong, there is only one other possibility: the European Countries’ unemployment numbers must be wrong.

Conservative Values!Luckily, we were able to remove the errors from this data, and produce the ideologically correct conservative graph to the right. (Click to enlarge.)

If Mitt Romney and Paul Ryan and all of the other great conservative thinkers are correct–and they undoubtedly are–then THIS is what the graph should look like!!  Notice the clear relationship that shows that increasing taxes on the rich increases unemployment, while decreasing taxes on the rich decreases unemployment.  That is what the graph should show!

These new unemployment numbers have been estimated using the same methods that Paul Ryan used to create his budget. These methods are known to be Ideologically Pure, and not encumbered by liberal bias.

Now, naturally, Sweden and Denmark might be shocked to discover that they actually have unemployment rates of more than 25%.  Bet they didn’t realize that. But hey, that’s the punishment you get when you tax the job creators.

In this corrected and unbiased, ideologically approved conservative graph, there is a clear relationship between top income rates and unemployment just like Mitt Romney and Paul Ryan are always talking about!  This is what a good graph should look like!!

Obviously, the first graph can be ignored. Only look at the second  “adjusted” graph.

What of the first graph?  Well… by refusing to reflect the values that we all have been told by our conservative leaders, it is clearly exhibiting a liberal bias!!!!


Graph Data Source: 2012 Eurostat Data (top graph only)
Data Found Via: