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Counterfactuals, revisited

My favorite perspective on the political economy of counterfactuals came from a reporter (Tom Foreman of CNN) who gave me his analysis of politicians and the economy. It went something like this:

Politicians taking credit from what they’ve done for the economy are like little kids working the controls of video games without putting any money in. There’s all kinds of stuff happening on the screen of the video game and they think that it’s all due to the frantic work of their fingers.