@SenWhitehouse must think “meretricious” means “proof my staff can’t do research.”

This is what we call an unforced error.

Executive summary: Heritage scholar Dr. Salim Furth was testifying to the Senate Budget Committees about European austerity programs, and how “to date, ‘austerity’ in Europe has consisted mainly of tax increases.” This apparently upset Senator Sheldon Whitehouse (Democrat from Rhode Island, and don’t worry if you don’t recognize the name: he’s usually a complete nonentity, frankly)…

So when Whitehouse got his turn to ask the witnesses questions, he lit into the Heritage expert. “Dr. Furth, I am very concerned about your testimony,” Whitehouse began, “I am concerned that your testimony to this committee has been meretricious.”

Whitehouse then produced a chart showing that, among other things, not only had France cut spending, which was the opposite of what Furth testified, but that France had cut spending far more than they raised taxes.

Ooh! Good burn there, Senator! …Except for one small problem: “turns out, the numbers Whitehouse used to attack Furth for misreporting “what took place in Europe” were actually mostly projections of what governments said they were planning to do in the future” (2011 report, using projected numbers up through 2015: see here for more details). In other words, Senator Whitehouse went out and accused a witness of lying to him because Whitehouse’s staff can’t tell an analysis of existing taxing and spending trends from an analysis of projected taxing and spending trends – or, apparently, tell their boss. Protip: governments generally tax more and cut less than they plan to. Another protip: Senators should always double check their staff’s work.

Which means that Sheldon Whitehouse’s attack was, I don’t know, apparently attractive; but having in reality no value or integrity. If only there was a word for that

(All bolding mine)

Moe Lane (crosspost)

PS: No, of course Sen. Whitehouse won’t apologize to Dr. Salim Furth. Whitehouse probably will fire a staffer or three, though. Heck, he might even fire the right ones…

3 thoughts on “@SenWhitehouse must think “meretricious” means “proof my staff can’t do research.””

  1. Another problem with the Senator’s line of argument is that “France” is not equivalent to “Europe.” It would be perfectly possible for both sets of statements to be true. If I make a claim that the SEC has the best overall level of college football in the country (which it does, unfortunately), confronting me with Vanderbilt’s generally abysmal recent record does nothing to disprove my point.

    1. Must be a “Big 10” (or is it 12 now, or whatever?) guy? Haters!! 😉
      See, here in the S.E., football isn’t a matter of life and death–it’s WAAAAAYYY more important than that………
      I suspect the SEC won’t stay in the top spot more than 3 or 4 more years. It’s all ready passed it’s “high water mark”, IMHO.

  2. He got his video clip and sound bite. It will keep the campaign money flowing. Mission Accomplished.

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