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Chamber of Commerce Want Ad: “Need Economist to Write Study Trashing Health Care Reform”

Wanted: young man single and free? (photo by hugovk)

Wanted: young man single and free? (photo by hugovk)

I think the Chamber of Commerce needs a lesson in the scientific method. Unhappy with a Business Roundtable study showing that the status quo would destroy the health care system, the Chamber of Commerce has set out to write a new study – one where the conclusion was already determined.

The U.S. Chamber of Commerce and an assortment of national business groups opposed to President Obama’s health-care reform effort are collecting money to finance an economic study that could be used to portray the legislation as a job killer and threat to the nation’s economy, according to an e-mail solicitation from a top Chamber official.

The e-mail, written by the Chamber’s senior health policy manager and obtained by The Washington Post, proposes spending $50,000 to hire a “respected economist” to study the impact of health-care legislation, which is expected to come to the Senate floor this week, would have on jobs and the economy.

Step two, according to the e-mail, appears to assume the outcome of the economic review: “The economist will then circulate a sign-on letter to hundreds of other economists saying that the bill will kill jobs and hurt the economy. We will then be able to use this open letter to produce advertisements, and as a powerful lobbying and grass-roots document.”

The more you learn about how Washington works, the more you have to laugh.

It also seems like they shouldn’t need to search very hard to hire for this position – the conservative movement seems riddled with analysts shameless enough to fix the facts around their thesis statement. The health insurance industry has already found several. Maybe they could just crib from them.

The author of the email had an amusing take. . . .:

James P. Gelfand, the e-mail’s author, confirmed its authenticity in a brief telephone conversation Sunday evening. He said the campaign against Democratic health legislation would only be launched “if that’s what it found,” but declined further comment and referred questions to a Chamber spokesman […]

In the e-mail, Gelfand writes that the proposal was “suggested by our Congressional allies” but does not specify who those allies are. He notes that the effort has collected $30,000 of the hoped-for $50,000 from other groups, including the National Association of Manufacturers, the Small Business and Entrepreneurship Council, the International Franchise Association, and the Independent Electrical Contractors association, each of which had contributed $5,000, according to Gelfand’s e-mail.

That’s notable, it means that members of Congress – we can safely presume Republicans – suggested that the Chamber write a bogus study that they can wave around on the floor during a debate. Essentially, the modern Congress is not as interested in facts as they are in fact sheets.

CommunityThe Bullpen

Chamber Of Commerce Want Ad: “Need Economist To Write Study Trashing Health Care Reform”

I think the Chamber of Commerce needs a lesson in the scientific method. Unhappy with a Business Roundtable study showing that the status quo would destroy the health care system, the Chamber of Commerce has set out to write a new study – one where the conclusion was already determined.

The U.S. Chamber of Commerce and an assortment of national business groups opposed to President Obama’s health-care reform effort are collecting money to finance an economic study that could be used to portray the legislation as a job killer and threat to the nation’s economy, according to an e-mail solicitation from a top Chamber official.

The e-mail, written by the Chamber’s senior health policy manager and obtained by The Washington Post, proposes spending $50,000 to hire a “respected economist” to study the impact of health-care legislation, which is expected to come to the Senate floor this week, would have on jobs and the economy.

Step two, according to the e-mail, appears to assume the outcome of the economic review: “The economist will then circulate a sign-on letter to hundreds of other economists saying that the bill will kill jobs and hurt the economy. We will then be able to use this open letter to produce advertisements, and as a powerful lobbying and grass-roots document.”

The more you learn about how Washington works, the more you have to laugh.

It also seems like they shouldn’t need to search very hard to hire for this position – the conservative movement seems riddled with analysts shameless enough to fix the facts around their thesis statement. The health insurance industry has already found several. Maybe they could just crib from them.

The author of the email had an amusing take:

James P. Gelfand, the e-mail’s author, confirmed its authenticity in a brief telephone conversation Sunday evening. He said the campaign against Democratic health legislation would only be launched “if that’s what it found,” but declined further comment and referred questions to a Chamber spokesman […]

In the e-mail, Gelfand writes that the proposal was “suggested by our Congressional allies” but does not specify who those allies are. He notes that the effort has collected $30,000 of the hoped-for $50,000 from other groups, including the National Association of Manufacturers, the Small Business and Entrepreneurship Council, the International Franchise Association, and the Independent Electrical Contractors association, each of which had contributed $5,000, according to Gelfand’s e-mail.

That’s notable, it means that members of Congress – we can safely presume Republicans – suggested that the Chamber write a bogus study that they can wave around on the floor during a debate. Essentially, the modern Congress is not as interested in facts as they are in fact sheets.

UPDATE: At The Seminal, Michael Whitney notes that the Chamber of Commerce did essentially the exact same thing on the Employee Free Choice Act.

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David Dayen

David Dayen