Apparently, the Heritage Foundation isn’t comfortable being the butt of economists’ jokes after boldly predicting a 2.8% unemployment rate in 2021 if the House GOP Budget is enacted. The think tank has removed the number from its study posted online.
As Paul Krugman pointed out in his blog, web users who downloaded a copy of the Heritage Foundation’s analysis yesterday were treated to a table in the appendix detailing the unemployment rate under Paul Ryan’s plan versus the CBO’s projections for the President’s budget. The same file downloaded today, however, omits the table entirely. TPM reached out to Heritage for an explanation and will post an update if they have further information.
Earlier today, the analyst responsible for the Heritage study conceded the numbers appeared a little low. But don’t take the change in their report as a sign that Heritage has changed its rosy outlook on Ryan’s plan — the switch is only cosmetic. The overall job numbers remain the same in both versions, it’s just the unemployment rate that’s gone missing.
Update: William Beach, the Heritage analyst behind their budget study, tells Dave Weigel at Slate that they have updated their unemployment figures, which are now significantly higher. Under the new version, unemployment is 7.89% unemployment in 2012 (versus 6.4% in their first analysis) and 4.27% unemployment (versus 2.9% in the original) in 2020.
“We adjusted the full employment unemployment variable,” Beach told Weigel. “Nothing else changes as a result of that, but the employment number changes.”
Benjy Sarlin is a reporter for Talking Points Memo and co-writes the campaign blog, TPM2012. He previously reported for The Daily Beast/Newsweek as their Washington Correspondent and covered local politics for the New York Sun.