Look at all those heads in the sand!
A few weeks ago, we wrote this:
[A] growing body of economic research... suggests that income inequality may be the root of America's economic woes... While the conservative right will almost certainly try to denounce these findings as "bias from the liberal elitite," the truth of the matter is that the reports aren't being crafted by one party or one organization.The reports come from an array of diverse sources, including IMF, internationally renowned economists, the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development, and dozens more.
Here's the thing -- while we predicted that Republicans would dismiss the findings, we never dreamed that they would try to cover them up.
But according to an article in today's New York Times, that is precisely what happened.
Here's the scoop:
The Congressional Research Service is the agency "providing policy and legal analysis to committees and Members of both the House and Senate, regardless of party affiliation. As a legislative branch agency within the Library of Congress, CRS has been a valued and respected resource on Capitol Hill for nearly a century."
Now, you may have noticed that Republican and Democrat electeds have been disagreeing over how to solve our economic crisis. One idea is to cut tax rates for the wealthiest, and hope that they 'trickle down' their wealth. The other is to ask those who can afford it to pay a little more so we can preserve the programs and services that make America work.
In order to settle the issue, Congress called in the CRS, the shared nonpartisan research staff service, to study the impact of tax rates and economic growth.
The result of the CRS' investigation was a 23-page report published this September. The report showed, well, pretty much exactly what nearly all economic research has found -- that lowering tax rates for higher earners does not lead to economic growth. In simplified terms: trickle-down economics don't work.
Problem solved. Disagreement settled. Right? Right??
Congressional aides and outside economists said they were not aware of previous efforts to discredit a study from the research service.
“When their math doesn’t add up, Republicans claim that their vague version of economic growth will somehow magically make up the difference. And when that is refuted, they’re left with nothing more to lean on than charges of bias against nonpartisan experts,” said Representative Sander Levin of Michigan, the ranking Democrat on the House Ways and Means Committee.
A Parallel Story in Oregon
Measure 84, on Oregon's November's ballot, would create a new tax break for our state's richest 2%. Proponents have argued it will create jobs, by encouraging 'job creators' to move into the state.
But when Oregon's nonpartisan Legislative Revenue Office released its fiscal impact report, it showed that the measure would actually cost the state hundreds of millions of dollars each budget cycle. As for those new job creators? The LRO found that the repeal of the estate tax would yield little to no increase in in-migration.
So, what did Measure 84 supporters say about the state's non partisan research service? "This is the bureaucracy engaging in rethink in order to protect their turf,' Mannix said."
Like on the national level, Republicans are choosing to stick their heads in the sand when science disagrees with them.