Niall Ferguson, Newsweek Cover Says President Obama Has Failed.
(ThyBlackMan.com) Newsweek seems desperate to generate covers that will sell copies of their magazine. Just a few months ago, the publication received attention for naming Barack Obama “The First Gay President.” Now, it’s simply saying that Barack needs to be gone and replaced by Mitt Romney.
Newsweek’s latest cover has the words “Hit the Road Barack,” and they aren’t joking. The article, written by Harvard University historian Niall Ferguson, says that President Obama has failed and that it’s time to take the country in a different direction.
Niall Ferguson was instantly attacked by liberals like Nobel Prize-winning economist Paul Krugman, particularly on Ferguson’s assertion that President Obama’s healthcare reform plan will increase the deficit. Writing for the New York Times, Krugman simply stated that Niall Ferguson’s words are highly inaccurate and unreliable. He also said that the Harvard professor misrepresented the numbers of the Congressional Budget Office in an unethical way.
Niall Ferguson then shot back at Krugman and other critics of his article:
“The critics are the ones who are splitting hairs because it’s absolutely clear what the CBO has said, is that the costs of the ACA [Affordable Care Act] will not be met by the new sources of revenue,” Niall Ferguson told Bloomberg TV’s “Market Makers”. “You have to distinguish here between the direct sources of revenue created by ACA and the indirect ways the CBO says it will not increase the deficit. … Krugman is being disingenuous.”
Brad DeLong, an economist with The University of California at Berkeley, actually called for Niall Ferguson to be fired for his mistake. But Ferguson is holding steady to his critique and is now defending his academic reputation.
“I don’t think you can claim that this is in any way undermining my academic reputation because the facts are absolutely clear,” Niall Ferguson said on Bloomberg TV. “What we’re dealing with here is a very carefully orchestrated campaign to try and discredit the piece by those who are ideologically loyal to the president.”
Niall Ferguson argues that those who are seeking to discredit him are being positioned by the Obama Administration to undermine his analysis. It is quite possible that this is the case, since the Obama presidency can often be just as oppressive as any other. Even in the black community, anyone who speaks objectively or critically of President Obama is instantly put into the cross-hairs of paid political hounds.
At the same time, the subtle argument here appears to be that Ferguson himself is being affected by the very same bias that he believes to have tainted the perspective of his political enemies. By simply focusing on the cost of the healthcare plan without considering indirect economic (and non-financial) benefits, Niall Ferguson may also be using selective information in order to make his point. Paul Krugman is no dummy, and one can easily argue that each man is choosing to see his version of political reality, while both are smart enough to selectively choose data to make their point (that’s what many scholars do in their research).
Finally, I find it interesting that no one considers the human element to all of this. Even if the Obama healthcare plan does increase the deficit, does it not matter that it allows every American to have health insurance? The costs of healthcare and education have risen to the point that few American families can afford to pay either one. Even if the deficit is negatively impacted by giving health coverage to children, I think that such a sacrifice makes our country better, not worse, in the end. Allowing the wealthy to pay higher taxes so that everyone benefits comes at minimal cost to the rich, while literally saving the lives of those at the bottom. If you aren’t willing to pay a little more in taxes to save another person’s life, then your soul has been poisoned with the very worst of greedy, unfettered capitalism.
Perhaps one day, we can stop seeing the value of human life like a price tag in a Wal-Mart store. In spite of all of our economic troubles, the United States is still the richest country in the world. The reality is that everyone deserves access to quality healthcare and education, and we can afford to give it to them. The bottom line does not always have to have a dollar sign attached to it, for there are some things more valuable than money.