POLITICS

Elizabeth Warren: intellectual fraud

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Politics,Beltway Confidential,Michael Barone

For those inclined to rhapsodize Harvard Law Professor and now Democratic Senate candidate Elizabeth Warren, it is a salutary experience—as salutary as a cold shower—to read this analysis of Warren’s major politically significant work by Atlantic blogger and brilliant student of economics Megan McArdle. Of Warren’s book The Two Income Trap, McArdle writes ” the deeper problem is that some of her evidence doesn't really support her thesis, and can be made to appear to support her thesis only by making some very weird choices about what metrics to use.” McArdle eviscerates Warren’s assertion that anyone with over $1,000 of medical debts who goes into bankruptcy counts as a “medical bankruptcy,” and calls her 2007 paper on medical bankruptcies “deeply, deeply flawed.” McArdle highlights what she calls Warren’s “persistent tendency to choose odd metrics that inflate the case for some left wing causes.”

Warren may have an attractive persona, with that hair parted down the center and a childhood background in Oklahoma. But it is hard to avoid the conclusion, after you’ve read McArdle’s extensive article, that Warren is something in the nature of an intellectual fraud. Which is something that you might want to keep in mind while following the Massachusetts Senate race in which recent polling suggests Warren is trailing incumbent Republican Senator Scott Brown but not by any great margin.  

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