Why you should be skeptical when politicians cite studies
- "objective" That’s how Mitt Romney’s campaign described the Tax Policy Center, a think tank, during the GOP primary, when it provided a politically helpful analysis of Rick Perry’s tax plan.
- "biased"That’s how Romney’s campaign described the latest Tax Policy Center report, which concluded that the bottom 95% of Americans would see a tax increase under Romney’s tax proposal. source
» “According to a study by…” Here is the report in question. Now, it does look like Romney flip-flopped, but there’s a bigger take-away here. When politicians—candidates in particular—cite tax analyses, or budget reports, or academic studies, don’t just take them at their word. Learn something about the group that produced the study, because not all think tanks are created equal. (The Tax Policy Center, for example, is affiliated with the Brookings Institute, which identifies as nonpartisan but is widely—though not unanimously—considered to be center-left. Meanwhile, Romney’s campaign counter-cited a study by Ernst & Young, which is unabashedly pro-business). Also, check to see if the politician citing the study once bashed the group that produced it.