Thursday, April 7, 2011

"Think Tanks" - the Great Oxymoron

Yesterday the economic blogsphere ganged up on the Heritage Foundation. I believe it started with Paul Krugman. I added my thoughts, and Invictus added his over at the Big Picture. In short, if the Heritage Foundation has any internal credibility left, it should issue an apology and move forward.

However, this underlines a greater issue: the role of "think tanks" in public debate. First, I always place "think tanks" in quotation marks because these really aren't great organizations devoted to higher goals; they are groups of political hacks from both sides of the political aisle who are interested in pushing an agenda, and then twisting facts to move that agenda forward.

Sometime over the last year, I was asked by a liberal "think tank" to participate in a "debate" regarding manufacturing policy. I foolishly participated. The other parties' initial response was a bit less than dignified, after which time it took them approximately 1-week to post my response. In short, I was asked to "participate" in order to be "one-upped" by their resident expert. Needless to say, I was less than thrilled by this treatment, but hopefully became wiser in the ways to politics.

In short, both sides of the political aisle have their "experts" all of whom are essentially paid whores; give time enough money and they will say the sky is yellow, up is down, Kenny G is s great sax player, and the Cubs will win the Series this year.