By Jack E. Lohman
I have a question for the folks at Wisconsin Policy Research Institute, which parades itself as “Wisconsin’s Free-Market Think Tank.”
Actually, it’s an easy one: Who funds your organization?
I’ve asked several times and haven’t received an answer. I think I know why.
If it is insurance industry money, even in part, please just say: “This study was funded by the insurance industry.”
Money does funny things to people, and I realize that hatchet jobs don’t come cheap. Just ask your favorite politician. Many of them receive money from the insurance industry, and coincidentally, even inccurate reports give them cover to do the wrong thing at the right time.
It’s funny how that works, but I expect that y’all knew that.
Clearly, if I wanted a job shilling for the industry, I’d set up a “think tank” and promise reports that shoot down logical health care reform. Because, don’cha know, logical reforms would necessitate eliminating the insurance industry. And even if that’s the right thing to do for businesses and the economy, it’d be last on my list.
I’d also approach Philip Morris and RJR and write negative reports on cigarette taxes and smoking bans. This could become a pretty profitable deal for both of us. And I’d write against election reform because that would put a damper on my future work and block my client’s influence over willing politicians.
The problem with “think tanks” — and I put Heritage and Cato in this category — is that they too often are funded by special interests whose sole purpose is to distort the system against the public’s best interest and toward their shareholders. A “private think tank” gives them cover.
Not the height of honesty, but that’s the way it is. The tobacco industry mastered the technique over the years. Remember when smoking was good for your health? And scientists swore to it???
This country desperately needs honest, unbiased studies about health care and the environment, but private shareholder money is not the way to get there. Whether by bought-off scientists or think tanks, whether intentional or not, bogus or incorrect reports stimey much needed progress and can do great harm to society.
But we know that already.
I’m not impressed with WPRI’s biases. Gov. Doyle, please use my tax money and produce good, reliable data!
Wouldn’t it be nice if think tanks, bloggers and nonprofits — on both sides of the issue — voluntarily disclosed at least their corporate funders?
Of course, the bigger problem is the politicians they influence, and the only way to correct our political system is with public funding of campaigns. But some politicians believe that a level playing field will work against them, so they are blocking any progress in that direction.
And that says it all. These corrupt politicians must be replaced in November, and WDC provides the best guidance. Those in the right three right columns must be unelected. Term limited, if you will.
Can you believe it? Only nine politicians worth keeping?