Why “Princeton Math” Never Adds Up

How many times have you watched some talking head from either academia or government and thought “What they’re saying just doesn’t seem to add up?” Yet, you questioned your own gut reaction with far more intensity than you ever questioned the premise or statements made because of one simple factor: They have some form of “Ivy League” credential?

There was a time where this had some (and I use that term very loosely) form of validity. Today? It may prove to be an outright dangerous folly. Here are a just a few examples:

Whether you’re in business, or just trying to keep up with what the economy may, or may not, be doing as to help you in considerations about where you might, or might not, position yourself in business or employment. One of the once generally accepted gauges as to help in that formulation was the Unemployment rate, coupled with not only what type of employment was being created, but also, that which appeared to be resilient.

Doing this today in a cursory fashion might lead you down a path to disaster. Doing this coupled with listening to the once “Chairman of the Council of Economic Advisers” (2011 -13) and now residing at Princeton University may lead you to total economic ruin. For if you thought he knew what he was touting? Think again. To wit:

Top Ex-White House Economist Admits 94% Of All New Jobs Under Obama Were Part-Time”

Remember when people like myself argued about the current state of employment and economic health being touted by the so-called “smart crowd” using the “statistics” of-the-day were anything but what was being professed? (I know trick question – they still do!)

All we were told (as well as sold) was this: “According to the statistics, we (we as in you or me) are egregiously either misinformed, or, unwilling to accept facts.” This was usually delivered in a, “Oh these poor uneducated plebes just don’t understand complicated math.” tone of superiority.

No, it wasn’t that we didn’t understand complicated math. It’s that we instinctively knew, without a shadow-of-doubt, when we were being showered with unmitigated bulls__t. And, in my opinion, Alan Krueger has been one of the foremost go-to talking head offenders of this crap touted across the business media. And in particular what I once considered a “serious” business outlet: Bloomberg™.

Let me be clear on one point. There are many hosts, writers, analysts, and shows which I like, and consider well-informed or unbiased there. However, what I am most disappointed in is this: Over the last year or more there has (at least in my opinion) been a distinct turn as to have more academic, government employed, or government centric guests. (e.g. Think-tanks, etc.) Where the tone now seems more government centric than business.

With interventionism of all sorts within the markets and more it’s easy to see why. However, that’s not the main point.

What I have deduced in my watching (and this goes for the other channels as well) is those whom fall into this category of government, academia, or think-tank – their statements, arguments, or perceptions of reality are regarded as if they are holy writ, and are not to be questioned. And the above cited revelations proves my point ipso facto. Period.

Mr Krueger has appeared countless times and both defended, as well as simultaneously minimized any validity to anyone’s questioning of not only the jobs data prior to today, but also, the health or robustness of the U.S. economy itself. That is, until he decided to actually take a little closer look for himself. What’s something like this called in academia? Ooopsy?

It would seem using “Princeton Math” missing the mark by 94% still allows for keeping one’s tenure, paycheck, and speaking fees, along with a calendar full for “on-air” appearances.

In business – it usually ends in just one thing: bankruptcy.

There is no other way to explain how something of this magnitude could have been missed unless (like I iterated above) no one, and I mean just that, no one pushed back hard enough to question his assertions over these last few years. People like myself have, but we’re considered “tin foiled” types, “Doomer-gloomers,” __________(fill in the blank.)

The real problem for the likes of Mr. Krueger and others who have been touting much of this trite is this: You’re proving us right. And that’s gotta sting, yes?

I coined the term “Princeton Math” a while back in response to some of the arguments and conclusions being professed by many of academia’s high “potentates.” i.e., Paul Krugman, Janet Yellen, Ben Bernanke et al.

I’ve argued (more like warning) that taking the assumptions being made using their rationale, as well as their basis for facts to verify those assumptions is not only foolhardy, but more likely to end in ways currently unimaginable to the average business owner or employee. e.g. Unmitigated economic disaster.

And no, I’m not trying to be hyperbolic just for its own sake. I truly believe that. But only the further passage of time will tell. Yet, with that said, with every passing day the uncovering, along with its realization of true economic facts moves unto my side of the argument/ledger, and away from theirs. And, that is no small revelation to be taken lightly.

Remember: The current Chair of the Federal Reserve argued only a few months ago that the economy was far from recovered and may need to run a “high-pressure” economy to mitigate the still reverberating after effects. Then, only to state at the latest press conference that even more rate hikes, rather than the same or less may be needed in the coming year.

Does one need some overpriced, overhyped “sheepskin” to see the possible economic “train wreck” possibilities here?

And as far as that implied fiscal stimulus they’ve been clamoring for? To paraphrase “Fiscal? We don’t need no stinkin’ fiscal help!” Maybe they don’t – but it sure seems like the U.S. economy can.

Add to this Paul Krugman’s tour-de-force that we should all just agree that “aliens” have arrived to conquer the planet and produce “goods” as to defend or entice them to consume I guess. (And no, I’m not making that up.)

Or better yet (only because it doesn’t involve aliens I guess) we should just magically produce (“magically” as in say it’s worth, not that it has any worth but for calling it that) some “Trillion $Dollar Coin” lock it up in some safe and put up the economic equivalent of a banner stating “Mission Accomplished!” Yep, sounds like a sound plan and idea. Not!

And now we have the latest “Ooopsy” from Alan Krueger. So what can we imagine him saying to defend such an egregious error? Maybe: “Yeah, remember all that good I said was created? Yeah, sorry ’bout that. But not too worry, tuitions will only increase twice as fast as to help buffer the economic impact emulating from private sector employment. So, my advice? Just stay in school. After all – it’s rough out there. And my newest thesis proves it!”

Sounds plausible too me. Especially with what we hear and see coming from the so-called “smart crowd” with every passing day.

Not to belittle the serious water issue happening in Flint, Michigan. However, with that said…

Has anyone checked the water at these universities?

© 2016 Mark St.Cyr