Getting Cheeky With Tax Data, Part 1

This is the first of a three-part series running this week on Third and State.

Last week, the editorial page of The Wall Street Journal got caught being, shall we say, less than truthful in its presentation of data on taxes. Paul Krugman explains (Kevin Drum has the best graphic):

The story goes like this: The Wall Street Journal had a deeply dishonest editorial claiming that taxes on the rich can’t help with [our] budget problems. (Are you surprised?) There were actually multiple problems with the editorial; Jonathan Chait pointed out that it repeatedly compared apples with oranges, that if you actually read the numbers straight the editorial disproved its own point. None of this was surprising.

What was surprising was that the Tax Foundation, which normally produces a fair bit of disinformation itself, actually published a blog post pointing out that the chart accompanying the editorial was a classic case of how to lie with numbers. Was the Tax Foundation actually taking a stand for intellectual honesty?

The answer it seems is yes — but not for long because the post was quickly removed for “editorial and content reasons.” Mark Thoma has the full story.

Getting cheeky with data is not a phenomena limited to New York City and Washington D.C. Just a few steps south of our worldwide headquarters here at Third and State you can find Pennsylvania’s own Commonwealth Foundation working hard not to be outdone by their national peers. More on that tomorrow.

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