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The Heritage Foundation, Stephen Moore, and the Kansas City Star: Live from La Farine CCCX: August 15, 2014

Deron Lee: Why one editor won't run any more op-eds by the Heritage Foundation's top economist: "'I won’t be running anything else from Stephen Moore'...

...So says Miriam Pepper, editorial page editor of the Kansas City Star.... Pepper’s no-Moore stance comes after her paper discovered substantial factual errors in a recent guest op-ed by Moore, the chief economist at the conservative Heritage Foundation. The episode serves as a cautionary tale for editors navigating the disputes of rival policy advocates.... The Star ran a piece by... Paul Krugman.... The column named Moore as one of the “charlatans and cranks” who have influenced policymakers at all levels to enact low-tax, supply-side economic policies—with ruinous effects, according to Krugman.... Pepper told me, “I was contacted by Moore’s people saying they wanted to run a response.” In the interest of fairness, she agreed.

Moore... submitted a version of a column that originally ran in Investor’s Business Daily... argued that Kansas’s tax-cut experiment needed more time to work, and cited statistics to show that states “following Krugman’s (and President Barack Obama’s) economic strategy are getting clobbered by tax-cutting states.”... Yael Abouhalkah... realized that one key paragraph—the one containing the most specific data in support of Moore’s claim—didn’t check out.... Moore later acknowledged he was using BLS numbers not from “the last five years” but from an earlier five-year period: December 2007 to December 2012.... Abouhalkah found Moore’s numbers were wrong even for 2007-12....

Texas did not gain 1 million jobs in the 2007-2012 period Moore measured. The correct figure was a gain of 497,400 jobs. Florida did not add hundreds of thousands of jobs in that span. It actually lost 461,500 jobs. New York, with [its] very high income tax rates, did not lose jobs during that time. It gained 75,900 jobs....

Moore’s piece... did not appear only in the Star.... The Wichita Eagle.... The original version published in Investor’s Business Daily remains uncorrected as of this writing. (IBD, which identifies Moore as part of its “brain trust,” did not respond to a request for comment.)...

Craig Harrington: Conservative Media's Favorite Economist Caught Distorting Facts About Taxes And Job Creation: "Heritage Foundation chief economist Stephen Moore was caught using incorrect statistics...

...to mislead readers about the relationship between tax cuts and job creation in the United States. On July 7, Moore published an op-ed in The Kansas City Star attacking economic policies favored by Nobel Prize-winning economist Paul Krugman. The op-ed claimed that "places such as New York, Massachusetts, Illinois and California ... are getting clobbered by tax-cutting states." Moore went on to attack liberals for "cherry-picking a few events" in their arguments against major tax cuts, when in fact it was Moore who cited bad data to support his claims.

On July 24, The Kansas City Star published a correction to Moore's op-ed, specifically stating that the author had "misstated job growth rates for four states and the time period covered." The editorial board of the Star inserted this annotation to Moore's inaccurate claims:

Please see editor's note at the top of this column. No-income-tax Texas gained 1 million jobs over the last five years, California, with its 13 percent tax rate, managed to lose jobs. Oops. Florida gained hundreds of thousands of jobs while New York lost jobs. NOTE: These figures are incorrect. The time period covered was December 2007 to December 2012. Over that time, Texas gained 497,400 jobs, California lost 491,200, Florida lost 461,500 and New York gained 75,900. Oops. Illinois raised taxes more than any other state over the last five years and its credit rating is the second lowest of all the states, below that of Kansas! (emphasis original)

On July 25, Star columnist Yael Abouhalkah explained the correction in more detail. Abouhalkah wrote that Moore had "used outdated and inaccurate job growth information at a key point in his article" and that Moore should have used data from 2009 to 2014, rather than from 2007 to 2012. Abouhalkah also argued that "the problems with Moore's opinion article damaged his credibility on the jobs issue."

Moore's credibility on "the jobs issue" is not the only troubling aspect of his economic punditry. Moore was recently brought on as the chief economist at the conservative Heritage Foundation after serving for many years on the right-wing editorial board of The Wall Street Journal and as a go-to economic commentator on Fox News. Moore has a history of disparaging reasonable economic policies in favor of fiscally irresponsible tax cuts for the wealthy and painful spending cuts to vital programs.

Moore has referred to unemployment insurance as a "paid vacation" for jobless Americans and bizarrely claimed that laws guaranteeing paid sick leave for full-time workers were "very dangerous for cities." Moore spent years basely claiming that the Affordable Care Act would reduce job creation, seamlessly transitioning from one debunked talking point to the next along the way. He is also an outspoken opponent of increasing the minimum wage, claiming that even a moderate rise in wages would result in a "big increase" in unemployment. In a recent foray out of the safety of right-wing media, Moore's anti-living wage spin was easily cut down by CNN anchor Carol Costello.

The original intent of Moore's Star op-ed was to garner support for tax cuts enacted over the past two years by Gov. Sam Brownback (R-KS), which The New York Times and other outlets have labeled "ruinous." The tax cuts have been such a dramatic failure that more than 100 members of the Kansas Republican Party have sworn to help replace Brownback with a Democrat willing to reinstate taxes and spending at their previous levels.

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