Think again about half-truths in columns
December 10, 2011
Addressing Melanie Sturm’s Thursday column regarding Tim Tebow and the economy, I decided to check just one thing she “reports,” at random, to see if it is true. I picked the claim she makes about the SBA report that states excessive regulations cost the economy $1.75 trillion in 2008.
To begin, the report does say that. However, what she does not say is that the report was done by two professors of economics at Lafayette College, for the SBA’s Office of Advocacy, not by the SBA. The report has been called flawed because it does not take into account several factors, like cost benefits, and was based on estimates from a series of studies that trace back to a 1974 National Association of Manufacturers (NAM) survey. You think NAM is unbiased?
The Economic Policy Institute report updates the Crain and Crain study with data for 2008 and fills in nearly all of the missing data points. When this more complete data set is applied, there is no statistically significant relationship between regulatory quality and GDP, meaning that even Crain and Crain’s own flawed model does not provide reliable evidence that regulations impede economic activity.
It annoys me when a columnist uses half-truths to prove they are right. Regulation is very important. Without it, we would still be breathing dirty air, driving cars that get 10 miles per gallon and have our rivers on fire from industrial waste. Let’s be smart; regulations are necessary. Half-truths, not so much. Think again.
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