It’s simple: the 2012 election.
Most of the Washington Mandarin class, our supposed intellectual betters (just threw up in my mouth writing that), couldn’t read polls or understand the basic arithmetic* behind what various people, like Nate Silver, were doing. They would declare that the race was a toss-up or that it even leaning towards Romney. Mind you, they love this horse race shit. Yet they could not grasp the numbers at all, even in their supposed area of expertise.
But now, when these very same pundits are faced with complex budgets and technical economic models, we are to believe that they know what they are talking about?
To steal Brad DeLong’s phrase, if they won’t mark their beliefs to market, then we will have to do so.
*As Chad Orzel notes in a different context, this really doesn’t qualify as math at all, but arithmetic.