Later On

A blog written for those whose interests more or less match mine.

Republicans rejecting reality

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The GOP has a serious reality problem: when a study or when evidence disagrees with their beliefs, they will do anything to avoid altering their beliefs, including suppressing studies and ignoring evidence. The GOP denial that climate change is occurring may please the fossil fuel industry, but it requires rejecting the effectively unanimous findings of climatologists, a mountain of data, and the clear signs visible to all (melting of the Arctic icepack, disappearance of glaciers, melting of the Greenland ice cap, unprecedented droughts, enormous disparity between record high temperatures and record low temperatures, increasingly violent storms and hurricanes, record rainfalls and flooding, and so on).

And now I read a poll that finds that more than two-thirds of registered Republicans (68%) believe that demons can possess people—not in the sense of slavery (which some Republicans say was a good deal for the slaves), but in the sense of parasitic control or some such.

And now we learn that the GOP objected to a report by the non-partisan Congressional Research Service that showed that lowering top tax rates has zero effect on economic growth. Jonathan Weisman reports in the NY Times:

The Congressional Research Service has withdrawn an economic report that found no correlation between top tax rates and economic growth, a central tenet of conservative economy theory, after Senate Republicans raised concerns about the paper’s findings and wording.

The decision, made in late September against the advice of the agency’s economic team leadership, drew almost no notice at the time. Senator Charles E. Schumer, Democrat of New York, cited the study a week and a half after it was withdrawn in a speech on tax policy at the National Press Club.

But it could actually draw new attention to the report, which questions the premise that lowering the top marginal tax rate stimulates economic growth and job creation.

“This has hues of a banana republic,” Mr. Schumer said. “They didn’t like a report, and instead of rebutting it, they had them take it down.”

Republicans did not say whether they had asked the research service, a nonpartisan arm of the Library of Congress, to take the report out of circulation, but they were clear that they protested its tone and findings. . .

Continue reading. From later in the story:

. . . The pressure applied to the research service comes amid a broader Republican effort to raise questions about research and statistics that were once trusted as nonpartisan and apolitical.

The Bureau of Labor Statistics on Friday will release unemployment figures for October, a month after some conservatives denounced its last report as politically tinged to abet President Obama’s re-election. When the bureau suggested its October report might be delayed by Hurricane Sandy, some conservatives immediately suggested politics were at play.

Republicans have also tried to discredit the private Tax Policy Center ever since the research organization declared that Mitt Romney’s proposal to cut tax rates by 20 percent while protecting the middle class and not increasing the deficit was mathematically impossible. For years, conservatives have pressed the nonpartisan Congressional Budget Office to factor in robust economic growth when it is asked to calculate that cost of tax cuts to the federal budget.

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.

Jared Bernstein, a former economist for Vice President Joseph R. Biden Jr., conceded that “tax cuts for the rich” was “not exactly academic prose,” but he said the analysis did examine policy time lags and controlled for several outside factors, including monetary policy.

“This sounds to me like a complete political hit job and another example of people who don’t like the results and try to use backdoor ways to suppress them,” he said. “I’ve never seen anything like this, and frankly, it makes me worried.” . . .

What we see in this is an inability of the GOP to revise their beliefs in the light of reality—an inability to learn.

Written by LeisureGuy

1 November 2012 at 12:42 pm

One Response

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  1. Terrific post – I found your blog via wet shaving searches but I enjoy the other content just as much. I believe that the reason behind the continuous denial of facts by the republicans has little to do with them learning (or not as the case may be) and has much more to do with them pushing an agenda to line the pockets of interests within the party. The largest consequence of next Tuesday is whether they will be able to stack the SCOTUS and strangle truth for the next 25 years or so.


    1 November 2012 at 4:26 pm

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