Sep 21, 2008

Actuary? What's that? A place for dead actors?

What does Joe Klein know about actuaries? Apparently no more than one could learn from watching About Schmidt. Otherwise he wouldn't make this ridiculous characterization:
It is appropriate, then, that the American Academy of Actuaries--a group devoted to the precise calculation of death rates--has exposed McCain's extravagant fraudulence of the past week for what it was.
Come on, Joe, you are a political journalist in Washington. Haven't you at least heard of what Social Security actuaries do? Such as producing the system's 75-year financial projections? Have you not heard of Social Security's actuarial balance, a term that means, essentially, financial balance? Wouldn't that give you a hint that actuaries don't just calculate death rates, but are in fact devoted to precise calculation of financial risk associated with uncertain events, of which death is but one example?

Don't mess with actuaries if you don't want to become a statistic.

As for McCain's shooting himself in the foot (What else is new?), the circumstances need to be clarified (although that will not make things any better for McCain). The Academy's journal, Contingencies, asked the candidates to describe their health care plans, and both candidates responded. Thus, the Academy didn't intentionally expose McCain's "fraudulent extravagance", as Klein's wordings might suggest, but merely provided a forum for the candidates to explain their plans directly, rather than through a journalistic filter. The candidates' words speak for themselves and the journal didn't engage in any sort of debunking. This is important because the Academy is the public voice of the actuarial profession, and the profession cares about its reputation and doesn't take impartiality lightly.

P.S. McCain's priceless quote, written when nobody expected the Spanish Inquisition financial crisis, is
Opening up the health insurance market to more vigorous nationwide competition, as we have done over the last decade in banking, would provide more choices of innovative products less burdened by the worst excesses of state-based regulation.

No comments: