Prosecute the torture.

August 7, 2014

A Question For Eric Heyl

Mr Heyl;

I see that, in June, the Tribune-Review published this interview you conducted with Stephen Moore, chief economist for The Heritage Foundation and a former writer for The Wall Street Journal in which you discuss Fed policy.

I don't know if you're aware but Heritage Foundation chief economist Moore was snagged getting some rather serious facts wrong - some requiring some rather serious corrections.

Here's what happened.  Mr Moore wrote this op-ed for the Kansas City Star (it was reprinted here at the Heritage Foundation website, in case you missed it).  But then he was on the losing end of a fact-check by the Star's Yael Abouhalkah:
The tax-cutting efforts of the embattled [Kansas Governor Sam] Brownback were praised in a recent opinion column by Stephen Moore, chief economist at the Heritage Foundation, a well-known conservative think tank in Washington, D.C.

However, my research shows Moore used outdated and inaccurate job growth information at a key point in his article in early July.
And then:
The wrong data undermined one of Moore’s arguments — that low-tax states have shown tremendous job gains and that employment often doesn’t grow as strongly in high-tax states.
So what do Moore say that was incorrect?  In his op-ed, he wrote:
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. Oops.
Turns out most of that was incorrect. From Abouhalkah's fact-check:
No. 1: When Moore wrote about job creation “over the last five years,” he told The Star that he had measured from December 2007 to December 2012, using federal Bureau of Labor Statistics information.

That was an odd and ultimately misleading decision for readers. The bureau’s data is updated monthly, so “the last five years” easily could and should have been from mid-2009 to mid-2014. That would have provided more up-to-date figures, not 18-month-old data.

No. 2: Texas did not gain 1 million jobs in that 2007-2012 period. The correct figure was a gain of 497,400 jobs.

No. 3: Florida did not add hundreds of thousands of jobs in that span. It lost 461,500 jobs.

No. 4: New York, which has one of the highest income tax rates, did not lose jobs during that time. It gained 75,900 jobs. [Bolding and Italics in original]
 Yea, that's some serious factual errors by your Mr Moore, huh?

Here's my question to you, Mr Heyl: While it's true that this set of factual errors had nothing to do with your interview with him, wouldn't it be rather unwise to ever invite Stephen Moore back onto the pages of the Tribune-Review, considering how much he managed to get wrong (and in such a small space, too!) on such an important topic (the link between tax rates and job creation)?

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