Wednesday, March 3, 2010

Bad Predictions Review

During the NFL football season, I enjoy reading Gregg Easterbrook's weekly column Tuesday Morning Quarterback at After the football season is over, I love his annual Bad Predictions Review column-- because many of the things the so-called "experts" and "pundits" predicted were so horribly wrong! And because experts and pundits rarely get called to the carpet for their really awful predictions-- though many are quick to highlight the predictions they nailed.

The whole column is a blast to read, but here are a few of the predictions that were particularly awful, and amusing:
Tom Curran of MSNBC forecast Percy Harvin as a draft bust: Harvin was Offensive
Rookie of the Year.
John Clayton of ESPN Predicted:
... a Super Bowl of Steelers over Giants; neither team made the playoffs. He
used an incredibly scientifically advanced formula to predict the Bears,
Bills, Browns, Redskins, Seahawks and Texans would make the playoffs; none did.
Clayton forecast the Saints to finish 8-8; they won the Super Bowl. He said the
Jets would finish 6-10; they reached the AFC Championship Game.
For kicks, there are some horrendously wrong non-football picks included in the column as well. Including this beauty:
In 2002, Joseph Stiglitz, who had just won the Nobel Prize for Economics, and
Peter Orszag, who is now director of the Office of Management and Budget, wrote this paper which concludes "the risk to the government from
a potential default on [Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac] debt is effectively zero."
Stiglitz and Orszag claimed to have used a computer model to run "millions of
potential future scenarios" and found there could never be any situation in
which taxpayers were harmed by Fannie Mae or Freddie Mac loans. So far, the
Fannie-Freddie bailout has cost taxpayers $112 billion, with a potential
ultimate loss to taxpayers of $1.9 trillion.
Aye Carumba! Anyway, check out the whole thing. It is well-worth the read, even if you aren't a football fan.

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