Thursday, January 14, 2010

Accounting Laws Are For Thee

Michael Boskin notices the same thing I did in Wednesday's column, that the sort of accounting that the federal government routinely gets away with would land a private citizen in prison.
Politicians and scientists who don't like what their data show lately have simply taken to changing the numbers. They believe that their end—socialism, global climate regulation, health-care legislation, repudiating debt commitments, la gloire française—justifies throwing out even minimum standards of accuracy. It appears that no numbers are immune: not GDP, not inflation, not budget, not job or cost estimates, and certainly not temperature. A CEO or CFO issuing such massaged numbers would land in jail.

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