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Elizabeth Warren’s academic claim to fame may be no more legitimate than her claim to be Native American

Elizabeth Warren’s academic claim to fame may be no more legitimate than her claim to be Native American

The Elizabeth Warren scandal you probably never heard of, but will be an issue if she runs for president.

By now, just about everyone has heard of Elizabeth Warren’s scandalous claim while she was climbing the law professor ladder to Harvard that she was Native American, despite the lack of substantiation.

If you hadn’t heard of it during her 2012 Senate campaign, you certainly know it now because Trump has branded her as a fake Indian by mockingly referring to her as “Pocahontas.”

That’s a term Warren is trying to turn to her advantage by crying racism. Warren also is working behind the scenes, in preparation for a 2020 presidential run, to build alliances with Native American groups.

There’s another scandal which, in some ways, is even bigger than Warren’s Native American problem, since it goes directly to Warren’s academic and political credibility. That scandal concerns Warren’s research methods into consumer issues which catapulted her to liberal fame.

Elizabeth Warren Wiki sets forth the details on its Academic Research Controversies page.

If you read Legal Insurrection, you probably know to what we are referring. We summarized the issue in a recent post, If Trump really wanted to stick it to Elizabeth Warren, here’s who he’d nominate for CFPB Director:

Warren rose to academic stardom on the basis of her consumer-related research and writings. It was her claim to fame both academically and in the popular press. Warren’s 2004 book, The Two-Income Trap: Why Middle-Class Parents are Going Broke, co-authored with her daughter, put Warren squarely on the public radar as a consumer protection hero.

Yet Warren’s academic research even before that book has come under withering criticism, as mentioned in our 2012 post, The Vetting of Elizabeth Warren’s Academic Background Begins. That post details a withering attack on Warren’s academic research by Professor Philip Shuchman in the 1990-1991 edition of the Rutgers Law Review

Megyn McArdle also has been a fierce critic of Warren’s research, including in these posts at The Atlantic in 2009-2010:

But no one has been more fierce a critic of Warren’s academic research methodology and validity than George Mason Law School professor Todd Zywicki, an expert in bankruptcy and consumer lending issues.

Zywicki, in an August 14, 2007, op-ed in The Wall Street Journal, eviscerated Warren’s research, The Two-Income Tax Trap…

In a September 30, 2010, Op-Ed in The Wall Street Journal regarding Warren’s appointment as a consumer Czar (later withdrawn), Zywicki wrote, In Elizabeth Warren We Trust?

(added) Law Professor Gail Heriot writes at Instapundit:

wrote about her highly questionable “research” on medical bankruptcies back in 2006.  If only the media (including the conservative media) had paid attention then …

This academic research scandal probably would not get many legs if only elucidated by conservative law professors and journalists.

But in a sign that it poses a threat to Warren, the NY Times recently covered the problem, Elizabeth Warren and a Scholarly Debate Over Medical Bankruptcy That Won’t Go Away:

https://www.nytimes.com/2018/06/06/upshot/elizabeth-warren-and-a-scholarly-debate-over-medical-bankruptcy-that-wont-go-away.html

One of the reasons many people think medical bills cause so many bankruptcies is Elizabeth Warren, now a United States senator and possible Democratic presidential candidate. In 2005, she, along with David Himmelstein, Deborah Thorne and Steffie Woolhandler, published a paper in the journal Health Affairs documenting a memorable statistic: More than 40 percent of all bankruptcies in America were a result of medical problems, they wrote. In 2009, they updated that research with an even more startling number: Medical bills were responsible for more than 62 percent of all American bankruptcies….

Their work was often mentioned by politicians interested in expanding health insurance coverage in the country — particularly Barack Obama, who talked about it on the campaign trail and again when stumping for the Affordable Care Act.

It helped propel Ms. Warren’s own political career. She ran for Senate largely on the themes she had explored in her scholarship, about the ways that public policy had made it hard for middle-class Americans to get ahead. She also connected the work to her personal experience, noting that her father’s heart attack had caused a financial shock in her family.

But, as the Times notes, that research has been called into serious doubt, and not just by political opponents:

But from the beginning many economists questioned the paper’s approach, which relied on surveys of nearly 1,800 Americans who had declared bankruptcy in 2001 and interviews with about half of them on their views about the causes of their financial woes after the fact. The researchers counted a bankruptcy as due to injury or illness if a person had a medical debt of more than $1,000; said illness or injury caused a bankruptcy; missed more than two weeks of work because of illness; or mortgaged a home to pay medical bills.

Mr. Mahoney, for example, said the team “wrote the paper in a way that was deliberately provocative, and they got out ahead of their skis.”

Craig Garthwaite, a health economist at the Kellogg School of Management at Northwestern, who also studies medical debt, offered a more negative assessment: “There are no reputable economists who I deal with who believe the number in the paper or the methods in the paper are appropriate in trying to get at the true underlying question.”

Writing in Health Affairs in 2006, David Dranove and Michael Millenson, then both on the faculty at Kellogg, analyzed the underlying survey figures differently and concluded that medical problems were probably responsible for less than 20 percent of all American bankruptcies.

But it gets even worse for Warren, the Times notes:

Last March, a team of economists from M.I.T., Northwestern University and the University of California, Santa Cruz, published another paper, making use of a California database of every hospitalization in the state. By examining the credit reports of all the hospitalized people to see who filed for bankruptcy afterward, the researchers concluded that medical shocks related to hospitalization could explain 4 percent of all bankruptcies.

Their paper was published in The New England Journal of Medicine under a bold title: “Myth and Measurement: The Case of Medical Bankruptcies.” The authors argued that their paper was the first to definitively demonstrate that medical shocks did cause some people to go bankrupt. It found that missed work caused by illness was often a bigger contributor to financial difficulties than medical bills themselves.

There is, of course, a huge difference between 4 percent and 62 percent.

Warren has responded to the study aggressively, the Times notes.

But the evidence from research and analysis by non-politically-motivated economists and scholars suggests that Warren’s academic claim to fame is no more legitimate than her claim to be Native American.

This aspect of her career has thus far escaped political scrutiny. But if, as I expect, Warren runs for president, her academic bona fides will be on the table for scrutiny.

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Comments

casualobserver | June 22, 2018 at 3:07 pm

Shocked. Just shocked. (sarcasm)

Doesn’t social research in academia now fully accept the process of conclusion >> premise >>> fill in some data to support it. Used to be you’d start with data and test a number of premises. In other words the reverse.

    healthguyfsu in reply to casualobserver. | June 22, 2018 at 8:30 pm

    Sadly, bass ackwards unethical reverse science is not confined to the social disciplines any more…it’s just easier to catch the frauds in the natural disciplines.

Yeeeup. As I’ve said repeatedly.

    Tiki in reply to Ragspierre. | June 22, 2018 at 4:08 pm

    Are you black bloc alt-left?

    Please, yes or no.

      Ragspierre in reply to Tiki. | June 22, 2018 at 4:57 pm

      Golly, however did you smoke me out, alt-right tiki-boi…???

      No, just dicking with you, sweet lips.

      I’m the simple country lawyer and conservative who has helped ordinary people and their businesses through the bankruptcy process, and has been posting here long years before you showed your ass here.

      When Warren first published her bullshit, I denounced it for what it IS. This was pre-LI. I’ve never seen a bankruptcy that was caused by medical bills.

      When Prof. Bill took on Warren years back I added my experience to what he was saying about her “scholarship”.

        starride in reply to Ragspierre. | June 22, 2018 at 5:32 pm

        When Warren first published her bullshit, I denounced it for what it IS. This was pre-LI. I’ve never seen a bankruptcy that was caused by medical bills.

        I have, in fact I have seen many, in the 90’s if you looked at the small claims court calendar for Rockford Il. 90% of the collection actions were for a single collections law office with offices located inside of Swedish American Hospital.

        I would even put it out that 1 in 50 bankruptcies in Rockford IL could have been prevented if the courts had shut that one collection agency down.

          Ragspierre in reply to starride. | June 22, 2018 at 5:59 pm

          You’ll need to provide a lot more information.

          In Texas, small claims courts are restricted to just that…small claims.

          IMNHO, anyone filing for bankruptcy that did not have at least $30,000.00 in un-payable debt was extremely ill-counseled.

          How could the Rockford courts “shut down” any firm asserting meritorious claims?

          Your 1 in 50 assertion is 2%, still well within the 4% cited in the Prof.’s piece, and still vastly outside of the Warren crap.

          Are you supporting her here?

          amatuerwrangler in reply to starride. | June 22, 2018 at 8:23 pm

          Rags– I think Starride is MTU (Making Things Up also seen as MSU). I’m in CA and small claims is just as you described for TX; and here the rules for SC is “no lawyers”. The claimants and defendants carry their own water. (Lawyers sometimes appear either to collect fees from non-paying clients or as defendants when the lawyer does not pay service provided by others)

          Just because a medical provider files a small claims action to collect a fee due does not make that a bankruptcy.. The Constitution I recall from 8th grade civics said that bankruptcy is the exclusive purview of the Federal courts. But that was back before there were so many amendments…

          starride in reply to starride. | June 23, 2018 at 10:36 am

          Well there you go Ragspierre and amatuerwrangler, talking crap from your limited view ivory towers while wearing mule blinders like a couple of jack asses

          Illinois small claims limit is 10K, yes lawyers are allowed to represent either side. And yes the judges get sick of seeing the same lawyers every day several times a day bringing cases against people when they are at their weakest.

          I witnessed one older retired couple have almost 100K in claims.

          Add that to how a hospital can have many accounts driven from one medical event. The DR has their bill, the anesthesiologist has theirs, the hospital has one or 2 different accounts, and it goes on. it is very easy to rack up quite a bit of small claim collection accounts.

          Now add to the fact that when a person is injured the average person is now earning much less due to disability income limits generally being between 50% to 66% of base salary. It becomes very easy to drive medically caused bankruptcy.

    Halcyon Daze in reply to Ragspierre. | June 22, 2018 at 8:40 pm

    Put a sock in it, you ditzy little catamite.

This is the method by which the media prep democrat candidates – cover the story now – then call it old news in 2019. “We covered that story, yawn.” Nom nom nom nothingburger!

Why would progressive media kneecap one of it’s own darlings?

    oldgoat36 in reply to Tiki. | June 22, 2018 at 5:29 pm

    Agreed. Having been discovered it’s better to rip the band-aid off, so it can be a nothing come the election time. It is also probably far too intellectual a thing to her worshipers, so they will dismiss it as sour grapes from other sources. Never mind that it being so wrong just shows why she shouldn’t be making any kind of decisions.

    Massinsanity in reply to Tiki. | June 24, 2018 at 9:54 am

    Perhaps they can trot Charles Freid out to defend her “scholarly work” since he already sold his soul to defend her hiring at HLS.

iconotastic | June 22, 2018 at 3:37 pm

Anyone who thinks this will discredit Fauxcahontas in the eyes of either a typical Democrat voter or Democrat media hack is charmingly naive. If anything this hoax she perpetrated, like the Indian ancestry hoax, will endear her to the leftist hacks.

if a person had a medical debt of more than $1,000

Even in 2005 dollars, this number is ridiculously low. If that’s a contributor to bankruptcy, I’d expect everything down to parking tickets to make us all bankrupt. But of course it doesn’t. Ergo, Warren’s been battering the numbers until they finally give up and support her postulate.

    oldgoat36 in reply to tom_swift. | June 22, 2018 at 5:38 pm

    The trouble is, with a number of people who got mortgages they never should have gotten, due to not having the income and credit history they should have had, it could push some over the edge. We saw that when gas prices exploded, and not long after we had that housing meltdown.

    Her surmise was still wrong, in that the issue wasn’t medical costs but them being far too over-extended through being house poor. It might have been a grand in medical that pushed them over the edge, but they were standing right on the edge already. The medical costs contributed to the final push, potentially, but it was their spending practices prior to that which caused it. It makes a huge error in where the cause was, and in those cases, it was used to prove her agenda, so never mind that it was stupidly wrong.

As fake as obama and hillary klinton.

When i see the word studies, i just skip to the next thing. Studies and statistics have been abused so badly that few can be trusted. Most are merely elaborate frauds like Warren.

This will end up being a matter of no consequence.

The American electorate did not give a rip that Obama was in the habit of hanging out with domestic terrorists and racist American hating preachers.

The American electorate did not give a rip that Hillary considers herself above the law or that Trump is a cheating, lying douchebag.

The American electorate doesn’t seem too concerned with giving rips about false ethnic identity claims made by Warren.

The American electorate will especially not give a rip about some disputed article published in some boring academic journal over a dozen years ago.

    Edward in reply to coolway. | June 22, 2018 at 8:17 pm

    Enough gave a rip about the Hildabeast to deny her the Oval Office. But for California and New York her popular vote would have strongly reflected that fact.

    mathewsjw in reply to coolway. | June 22, 2018 at 8:21 pm

    Not “The American electorate” as it was the #FakeNews Leftist Media AND the Democrat’s voters

    just like the Massachusetts Democrat’s voted for Ted ‘murderer’ Kennedy not all of MA

      coolway in reply to mathewsjw. | June 23, 2018 at 1:59 am

      The Electorate selects whom it selects, regardless of the media or the partisan divide. If the electorate were principled and conservative, it would have rejected both Hillary and Trump. But here we are…

Medical bills are unsecured debt – why waste time filing bankruptcy if medical providers cant do anything to collect. Obvious to everyone the study was bogus.

    starride in reply to Joe-dallas. | June 22, 2018 at 6:06 pm

    It is the way they are structured, each entity in service is a separate entity, so one surgery can get a person 15 different collection actions.

    With small claims courts that allow a collection agency to charge 500% fees and interest small bills can add up fast under collection.

    Then once the bill gets to a point where the collection agency can make a profit they will sue in small claims, get a judgement then 30 days later file for garnishment of your wages.

    If you are unemployed or on a reduced salary disability income (mine would pay out at 66% of base salary but others are at 50%)it doesn’t take much to force a bankruptcy. When it comes to a decision between having wages garnished by small claims court, eating, paying auto insurance and house payments, people generally pay the most important bills first.

notamemberofanyorganizedpolicital | June 22, 2018 at 5:46 pm

So professor, Lizzie Cheated?

Americans hate cheaters with a vengeance.

Fyi

Thanks to the efforts of Judicial Watch, we now find a name at the very heart of some of the most controversial investigative collapses in modern political history.

The same John McCain staffer who told the IRS to weaponize their database to target Tea Party groups, was intimately involved in Fast-and-Furious, Benghazi, IRS and now -under the Trump administration- “Spygate”.

If you wanted to control or cover-up a DC scandal where would you need to be? What position(s) would you need to control? A) the witnesses, and the investigators. In essence, deep inside the agencies or committees doing the investigation. That’s exactly the functionality where Henry John Kerner comes in

The last refuge

notamemberofanyorganizedpolicital | June 22, 2018 at 5:46 pm

So professor, Lizzie Cheated?

Americans hate cheaters with a vengeance.

Fyi

Thanks to the efforts of Judicial Watch, we now find a name at the very heart of some of the most controversial investigative collapses in modern political history.

The same John McCain staffer who told the IRS to weaponize their database to target Tea Party groups, was intimately involved in Fast-and-Furious, Benghazi, IRS and now -under the Trump administration- “Spygate”.

If you wanted to control or cover-up a DC scandal where would you need to be? What position(s) would you need to control? A) the witnesses, and the investigators. In essence, deep inside the agencies or committees doing the investigation. That’s exactly the functionality where Henry John Kerner comes in

The last refuge

“The Elizabeth Warren scandal you probably never heard of, but SHOULD be an issue if she runs for president, AND PROBABLY WON’T.”

There, fify

SeekingRationalThought | June 22, 2018 at 8:45 pm

But….But….Harvard needed a native american woman on the faculty so anything she did was great and couldn’t be wrong. Right? Right? Please say I’m right.

inspectorudy | June 22, 2018 at 11:17 pm

The Demorat party used the bogus picture on the cover of “Time” magazine to raise $18,000,000 and then it was revealed that the picture was a fake. Do you think that they will give back the money? Warren got elected to the Senate by deceit and fraud do you think the people of MA will demand she resign? To the left, there are no rules that can harm them. They have no ethics. If and when she runs for higher office this will have no impact on her with her base. That is the way of the left.

As a research chemist for over 35 years, I have observed a steady increase in politically motivated research where money is awarded for studies that have predetermined conclusions. Originally this was largely limited to the more social of the sciences, but with the advent of global warming, it has taken on the hard sciences by storm. Along with this has been an increase in scientific fraud for both political and personal reasons. Worse still is how much of this scientific fraud increasingly goes unpunished. (I have personally had two occasions where another scientist tried to publish my own work as theirs, both times I was vindicated, and both times the guilty party did not even get a slap on the wrist.)

    Want to discomfit warmists? Ask these questions.

    What are the photon absorption bands of CO2?
    What are the photon absorption bands of water vapor?
    What is the overlap?
    What does it mean?

    MajorWood in reply to Cleetus. | June 23, 2018 at 11:36 am

    In medicine it really took off with AIDS, the first truly political disease. An easily preventable disease that affects a very small number of people suddenly became the health care calamity of the century, and the national institute which covered it suddenly went in funding $$ from near the bottom to one of the top 5, up with cancer, heart disease, and neurological disorders which affect the other 99.5% of the population. And with all that funding, and .gov covering AIDS treatment willy nilly at $100K/yr, because it no longer kills people in 6 months, the incidence of new cases is increasing and safe sex is on the backburner. If you wanted new medical research to get funded, it sure had better have a tie-in the AIDS somehow.

    And good luck getting .gov money if you have any data which questions global climate change, which is just a behavior control method anyway. Has anyone seen anything about the HUGE amounts of SO2 that Kilauea is dumping into the atmosphere each day? Of course not, because gases which can’t be controlled by tyrants don’t matter.

    No one summed it up better than the master.

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=2UpMwdjwiGI

Harvard? Really?

Opulence and Opium: The Legacy of Harvard’s Drug Syndicate
https://www.thecrimson.com/article/2017/3/30/opium-at-harvard/

DouglasJBender | June 23, 2018 at 4:39 pm

Elizabeth Warren — Fake Medicine Woman.

That 4%. How soon after the illness were the bankruptcies chosen to count.

If they excluded ones that took place years later that could account for the discrepancy. Sometimes it takes time for people to come to the conclusion that they’re in trouble and the only cure is bankruptcy.

And what date did they use for the bankruptcy? It can take a while for a bankruptcy to conclude so if they used when the bankruptcy was approved or when it was first filed would also make a difference.

Yeah there’s resources to look up but frankly those two questions should be part of the synopsis and since it isn’t I suspect the timing to be dispositive.

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