withdraw a report debunking conservative economic orthodoxy. Cutting tax rates at the top appears “to have little or no relation to the size of the economic pie,” the report said. “However, the top tax rate reductions appear to be associated with the increasing concentration of income at the top of the income distribution.” So charging the rich lower tax rates doesn’t promote economic growth; it merely increases economic inequality.
The CRS is a highly respected, independent agency that prepares reports for members of Congress and routinely issues findings that disappoint or even irritate their clients, who usually just grin and bear it, or at least bear it. But Congressional Republicans seem to think that the CRS should function like Pravda.
In recent months, Republicans have been on a paranoid tear. They attacked the private and equally authoritative Tax Policy Center because it bothered to analyze Mitt Romney’s tax plan and found that it’s pretty much impossible to cut taxes by 20 percent without increasing the deficit. And they claimed there was a conspiracy at the Bureau of Labor Statistics when it reported last month that the unemployment rate had dipped below 8 percent.
Don Stewart, a spokesman for the Senate Republican leader, Mitch McConnell, said Mr. McConnell and other senators “raised concerns about the methodology and other flaws” in the CRS report. Antonia Ferrier, a spokeswoman for the Senate Finance Committee, said the panel had relayed its objections to the CRS. “We had a good discussion,” she said, “Then it was pulled.”
In case you don’t speak fluent bureaucratese, “good discussion” means that the Republicans made it clear the report had to go. And “it was pulled” means the CRS obeyed. The Times quoted a person with knowledge of the deliberations as saying the decision on Sept. 28 to withdraw the report was “made against the advice of the research service’s economics division” and that the author, Thomas Hungerford, stood by its findings.
Whatever their substantive objections to the report, Senate Republican aides told the Times that they objected to the use of the terms “Bush tax cuts” and “tax cuts for the rich” in the document. While those may not count as strictly academic descriptions, they’re perfectly accurate. Perhaps Republicans expected the CRS to call rich people “job creators”?
Saturday, November 3, 2012
"They can't handle the truth!"
Andrew Rosenthal at NYT: