I lost my fantasy football match-up last week 98.1 to 98.3.
What made it worse is that I had three starting players score less than 2 points. If I had started anybody else on my bench instead of any of those three people, I would have won.
One of the reasons fantasy football can be so aggravating is that your mistakes stare you in the face. You can clearly see all the wrong decisions you made and, if you lose, they can haunt you on Monday morning.
I’ve mentioned before on this blog that one of the difficulties with economics, especially macroeconomics, is that we cannot run experiments like the natural sciences can. Biologists can tweak one variable in a petri dish and see how an organism responds to it. We can’t tweak one variable in an economy and see how the economy responds because the real world isn’t a controlled experiment. While we’re changing taxes and spending, a million other things in our world are changing at the same time, and all of those come together to impact the economy. Thus, we rely on economic models with dozens of assumptions, usually based on prior performance. And in an economy that is ever-changing, many of those are likely inaccurate today. The least you can do, as a responsible economist, is to try to be realistic in your assumptions. Unfortunately, back in March, the CBO couldn’t even do that much.
The notion of a job “saved or created” is an unprovable statistic. Even the CBO’s latest report on the effect of the stimulus puts the number of jobs “saved or created” at a range between 1.9 and 4.8 million, depending on different multiplier estimates. Call me crazy, but when the high estimate is 2.5 times as much as the low estimate, it makes me not put a lot of faith in the model you’re using. Imagine if the local weatherman announced that tomorrow’s high would be somewhere between 30 and 75 degrees.
If only the economy were more like fantasy football. We could see what would have happened if we had done things differently. And while it might reveal that we made some bad decisions, and they might haunt us because people’s livelihoods were at stake, at least we would be able to examine the situation critically and learn from it so that we don’t keep making the same mistakes over again.
And on that note, I have to drop a few players from my team.