Woe to the scholar who substitutes petty biases for basic research: case in point, the Oxford-trained, Harvard-tenured, Hoover-institutionalized historian Niall Campbell Douglas Ferguson, who, having been recently crucified on a cross of outrageous misfortune of his own making, was foolish enough to make an appearance on Bloomberg TV in his own defense.
After noting Ferguson's preference for "smaller government," an interviewer notes that while private-sector jobs have grown under the Obama administration, "job losses are really coming from the public sector." So Professor, in your own opinion, this is "better," right?
Responds--astonishingly--the good professor:
Well, that’s not really a part of the argument I made in the piece. The point I made in the piece was that the stimulus had a very short-term effect, which is very clear if you look, for example, at the Federal employment numbers there’s a huge spike in early 2010 and then it falls back down.
To which Paul Krugman (who, says Ferguson in the Bloomberg clip, is being "disingenuous") responds. That "huge spike in early 2010"?
[I]t was all about temporary hiring for the Census, and the meme continued to be part of what everyone on the right knew, just knew, to be true long after the Census blip was over and federal employment was back below its level when Obama took office.
Eventually, however, the thing vanished from the discussion, and I thought we’d hear no more about it. But guess who didn’t get the memo?
For what it’s worth, in this case I don’t think we’re looking at a blatant attempt to mislead; I suspect that we’re just looking at raw ignorance.
Oh, my, that's going to leave a scar.