Saturday, October 3, 2015

Lefty Economists vs. Elizabeth Warren

Lefty economists are circling the wagons against super-lefty Elizabeth Warren, after she went for the scalp of one of their own.

WSJ's James Freeman has the details:
At least some Democrats are resisting Sen. Elizabeth Warren’s purge of the liberal intelligentsia. This week Ms. Warren succeeded in forcing the resignation of respected scholar Robert Litan from the Brookings Institution after he revealed that a new Labor Department regulation could cost investors billions. Now five Democratic economists have authored a letter to protest Warren’s bullying. Robert Lawrence of Harvard’s Kennedy School and Bowman Cutter of the Roosevelt Institute are among those writing “to express our concern over our colleague Bob Litan’s treatment at the hands of the Brookings Institution and Senator Elizabeth Warren.” Also signing the letter are Everett Ehrlich, Joseph Minarik and Hal Singer.

Ms. Warren had falsely claimed that Mr. Litan had been “vague” about the funding for research showing the new regulation would limit choices and raise costs for investors. In fact, he had clearly disclosed that it was sponsored by a financial-services company. According to the new letter from Democratic economists, “Businesses sometimes finance policy research much as advocacy groups or other interests do. A reader can question the source of the financing on all sides, but ultimately the quality of the work and the integrity of the author are paramount. In Bob’s Litan’s case, both have been impeccable over a career of four decades. And, in keeping with those standards, he has been completely transparent about the support for, and conduct of, the study in question, as both Brookings and Senator Warren were well aware from the day he first testified before the Congress on the matter.”

The letter adds that “Senator Warren’s approach (and Brookings’ complicity with it) threatens ad hominem attack on any author who may be associated with an industry or interest whose views are contrary to hers. Those who differ with Litan instead should offer a substantive rebuttal to the paper in question, which would do much more to clarify the issue than implicitly depicting him as being inherently corrupted by the sponsorship of his work.”

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