Why I Love the Internet and Am Proud to Be from Iowa

Paul Krugman, the Jekyll and Hyde of public intellectuals (breathtakingly bad though he is as a columnist, I’m told he’s actually competent when he’s alone in a room with other economists), had a piece a few weeks ago in which he linked a state’s policy toward collective bargaining for teachers with its national ranking on SAT/ACT scores. He then proceeded to extol Wisconsin and excoriate Texas.

Out of nowhere—at least I’d never heard of him—comes a posting by one David Burge on his blog, Iowahawk, in which he tore Krugman’s numbers apart. I don’t mean he found some soft spots. I’m talking evisceration. The post has been flying around cyberspace and has a attracted a lot of flak to which Burge has now responded.

I recommend both posts as tours de force on two levels. First, they are saturated with the best kind of Internet irreverence and humor—sophomoric occasionally, lmao funny more often. Second, the guy is a hell of an applied statistician.

It’s wonderful: Paul Krugman’s got his mile-high New York Times platform, Burge has an obscure blog. And yet, in the world of the Internet, he can take Krugman down and end up letting a whole lot of people know he’s done it.

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