QOTD: On politics and economics

I was chatting about some policy recently with another economist, when they came out with this great line about how some policy was being reported (overseas):

Every political editor loves it and all the economics editors are unimpressed.

What does this mean?  What does this imply about politics and economics?  I’ll leave it up to you to discuss that – I’ll just giggle 😉

4 replies
  1. Rob Hosking
    Rob Hosking says:

    As someone who wears both titles, I am, I suppose, supposed to be ambivalent.

    • Matt Nolan
      Matt Nolan says:

      New Zealand is actually really interesting – as many of the politics journalists are also business journalists. Do you have any thoughts I how that influences what you write? Is it helpful?

      • Rob Hosking
        Rob Hosking says:

        As it turns out there was quite a good real life example yesterday…the Crown Accounts. I was more interested in the change in spending and revenue over time, and the mix of that, and what it tells us about the economy.

        I was much less interested in revenue being below forecast: forecasts of tax revenue being a few hundred million out, one way or the other, are really dog bites man stuff. There are too many moving parts for them to be particularly accurate. They’re placeholders to allow budgeting, rather than targets, something a lot of folk struggle to grasp.

        The surplus target to me has always been more a political rather than an economic goal – yes its important to get the government back to surplus, but if it is this year or next year won’t make a huge difference economically.

        I was mildly taken to task by a mutual and highly political friend of ours for being a bit ‘apologist’ for the govt, but I pointed him to previous stories which questioned, quite strongly, the economic wisdom of the 2014/15 surplus target.

  2. David A Smith
    David A Smith says:

    The Roman phrase “bread and circuses” springs to mind: the economists find the bread while the politicians provide the circuses…

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