23 July 2009

This Just In: "Intimidator in Chief"?

A report in today's WSJ describes President Obama's alleged attempt to "lean on" "Douglas Elmendorf, the director of the supposedly nonpartisan Congressional Budget Office, who last week told Congress that you can’t 'save' money on health care by having government insure everyone."

Elmendorf seems clearly right, at least to me: the Obama administration's claim that universal insurance will save money is hard to take seriously. But that is beside the point. What is more troubling is the apparent attempt to silence dissenting opinion. As I mentioned in a previous post, officials at the EPA, apparently with approval from the Obama administration, recently took actions to quash a report from some of its own scientists that questioned some of the central assumptions behind Obama administration climate initiatives. This second incident now suggests a worrisome pattern.

Politics should not trump the truth, and our political agendas should not be allowed to interfere with the vigorous pursuit of the truth. We often do not know what the truth is, and often people of good faith disagree about important issues. That is an abiding fact of the limitations in human abilities. The only way to make the most of our limited abilities, however, is to allow open discussion and debate, and to encourage unfettered pursuit of the facts, regardless of where that leads.

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