Luskin Update

By way of updating the earlier post pointing out the unacknowledged edits that Luskin and/or NRO made to Luskin’s article, I see that at some time between when I wrote the Before and After post (late Tuesday night) and noon Wednesday, an acknowledgement of sorts was added to the NRO site (original column here; revised column here).

I say “of sorts” because the author’s note says in part, “The paragraph containing this error has been struck from the text above. Doing so does not affect my thesis, so nothing else requires correction and nothing else has been modified in any way.” Of course, Luskin’s thesis was that doesn’t correctly check its facts — he ended his flawed piece with a provacative “Fact-check that!” [emphasis in original] — yet his piece itself contained a blatant and dramatic factual error.

Once again, here’s the redacted paragraph:

If payrolls are $295.5 trillion and the deficit is $10.4 trillion, that means Social Security’s anticipated payments to the infinite-horizon must, by definition, be $305.9 trillion — which is a really big, bad number. But we didn’t hear any panels or committees or demanding that number be shown. No, the public must only be shown good numbers.

So, the part he took out was the big finish in which he accused of not “demanding that number be shown” in a situation where “that number” was a figment of Luskin’s imagination. Other than that, his thesis is unaffected.