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Wanted: "Respected economist" who doesn't like being so respected

The Chamber of Commerce recently blasted out a fundraising e-mail to its member groups asking for $50,000 to hire a "respected economist" to study the health-care bills. Seems sensible enough. Knowledge is power, and all that. But then, as Michael Shear reports, comes step two:

"The economist will then circulate a sign-on letter to hundreds of other economists saying that the bill will kill jobs and hurt the economy. We will then be able to use this open letter to produce advertisements, and as a powerful lobbying and grass-roots document."

The "respected economist" who takes this job is not going to remain respected for long, I fear.

By Ezra Klein  |  November 16, 2009; 10:36 AM ET
Categories:  Health Reform  
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I'd recommend Larry Kudlow, who isn't an economist but does play one on tv, or, perhaps, they could search the archives for guest op-eds in the WSJ. Should do the trick.

Posted by: Castorp1 | November 16, 2009 10:47 AM | Report abuse

Something really ought to be done if the chamber of commerce continues to undermine the long-term interests of American business.

Posted by: adamiani | November 16, 2009 10:50 AM | Report abuse

Why bother with a respected economist when you can get an actor. My sense is they're casting for a role, and should call William Morris. Finding someone to play the role of respected Nobel Prize winning economist seems like an easy cast.

Or as mentioned above, you can just pay Larry Kudlow to shill for them, since he's already willing to play to role of pseudo-intellectual every night on CNBC.

Posted by: zeppelin003 | November 16, 2009 11:04 AM | Report abuse

The Chamber, much like the NRA, has long since abandoned it's original mission in favor of political hackery...

Posted by: JkR- | November 16, 2009 11:13 AM | Report abuse

They're only willing to pony up $50,000? The Chamber must indeed be falling on hard times!

Posted by: exgovgirl | November 16, 2009 11:25 AM | Report abuse

anyone willing to take the contratian view and explain how this bill will help either save jobs or increase them. Maybe some of those good stimulus jobs we all hear about all the time.

Sidenote-government jobs don't count :-)

slightly off topic but I'm sure we'll hear from VP Biden on this topic on his daily show interview tomorrow. It should be fun! I can't wait until he makes his case.

Posted by: visionbrkr | November 16, 2009 11:29 AM | Report abuse

Another suggestion would be Greg Mankiw. A year ago he wouldn't have occurred to me, but after reading his ill-informed attacks on healthcare reform on his blog, I think he might interested.

Posted by: Castorp1 | November 16, 2009 11:46 AM | Report abuse

The CoC is doing a nice job of making reform inevitable. The reason may be that they already know health reform won't hurt them much: The CMS report on the House bill shows less spending on employer-sponsored health insurance in 2019, despite 2.5 million more lives covered. Good news for them.

Posted by: bmull | November 16, 2009 11:59 AM | Report abuse

Actually, the world is full of respected economists who work for hire to endorse whatever position they're paid to endorse. See, for example, litigation.

Posted by: ostap666 | November 16, 2009 12:16 PM | Report abuse

The "respected economist" who takes this job *is* going to remain respected, is the trouble.

Posted by: nostick | November 16, 2009 12:33 PM | Report abuse

Isn't this what DC think tanks are there for?

Posted by: constans | November 16, 2009 12:36 PM | Report abuse

The only thing amazing about this story is that it made the Post's front page. Groups on the left and right commission studies all the time to give credence to their point of view. There's no compelling reason to spotlight what the Chamber is doing when groups across the political spectrum do this regularly. I'd expect a hatchet job from the ever-biased Ezra Klein, but the Post should aspire to better.

Posted by: FreeMas | November 16, 2009 2:45 PM | Report abuse

Wow, I'm just surprised at how transparent their attempts are.

That this is public is really going to sabotage their schemes. An sufficient response to the "opinion" of this economist would be to forward this job posting.

Posted by: zosima | November 16, 2009 2:54 PM | Report abuse

The CoC's TV ad campaigns are lame and pretty sleazy, given that their "healthcare plan" is based upon closing their eyes tightly and wishing for cost reductions and greater access. Hiring an econoshill fits that approach.

Posted by: pseudonymousinnc | November 16, 2009 3:23 PM | Report abuse

"Why bother with a respected economist when you can get an actor."

Well, there you go -- obviously, Ben Stein. He has a background in econ, is best known as an actor, and is extremely right wing. Casting is complete.

Posted by: Janine1 | November 16, 2009 5:04 PM | Report abuse

"Another suggestion would be Greg Mankiw. A year ago he wouldn't have occurred to me, but after reading his ill-informed attacks on healthcare reform on his blog, I think he might interested." It's too bad that you-all are unaware that there are intelligent people who disagree with you. I imagine that half of the world's great economists do. Economics still has a long long way to go in working out fundamental principles that really work on the global scale.

Posted by: MikeR4 | November 17, 2009 10:22 AM | Report abuse

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