Take the recent brouhaha over a report issued by the Congressional Research Service, the nonpartisan arm of the legislative branch that churns out reports and studies, most of them non-controversial affairs (and perhaps a tad dull, unless you’re fascinated by, say, the history of pension plans). Historically, CRS is a trusted resource for both parties. But, lo, it seems the hunt for partisan slant has made its way to the CRS’s doorstep.
Republicans complained so loudly over a recent report by the vaunted agency that it took the offending document out of circulation — a rare move. The New York Times reports that GOP outcry led to the removal of a CRS report concluding that trimming top tax rates doesn’t lead to economic growth, which counters a belief etched in stone among Republicans.
Some of their beef with the report was semantic. They didn’t like, for example, the phrase “tax cuts for the rich.” And they picked at the methodology, though the CRS’s economic staff objected to the report’s removal and its author stands by it.
The author, though, didn’t do himself any favors in the hyper-sensitive credibility game by being a donor to Democrats.
We’ve heard that demand for nonpartisan research has dwindled in recent years, with both parties tending to seek analysis and information from the machines they know will spit out facts that support their positions.
Independent, nonpartisan sources? Sooo last century.