Sunday, December 22, 2013

Mankiw Smacks The New York Times

Harvard economist Greg Mankiw takes a smack at NYT via his blog:
Meaningless Sentence of the Day 
This NY Times story on the middle class's struggle with the new healthcare law is generally pretty good, but this sentence struck me as comically meaningless:
Experts consider health insurance unaffordable once it exceeds 10 percent of annual income.

What the heck does this mean?  The typical American spends more than a third of income on housing.  Does that make housing unaffordable?  Presumably not.  What makes 10 percent the magic threshold for health insurance but not for other categories of crucial spending?  Who are these experts, and what criterion do they use to determine what is affordable?
It's very unusual for Mankiw to be so confrontational in his commentary. It is especially odd since Mankiw writes for the rag. Should we chalk it up to too much eggnog?

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