We Don’t Need No Stinking Data

Posted by | May 1, 2011 08:03 | Filed under: Top Stories

by Stuart Shapiro

The Energy Information Administration (EIA) is an obscure agency buried in the Department of Agency.  Its budget is barely the rounding error in calculations of the overall deficit.  That said, it seems that it was one of the prime targets in the recent budget deal.  Michael Levi details the hits which include stopping data collection on oil and gas reserves, the connections between futures trading and energy markets, and the inventory of greenhouse gas emissions.  Levi concludes that this is the definition of penny wise and pound foolish:

Congratulations to those policymakers who thought that cutting the EIA budget would be wise: You’ve managed to lose a few ounces of weight by removing a small sliver of your brain. Don’t count on the EIA to help you out in a pinch, though: they’re going to “limit responses to requests from policymakers for special analyses” too.

I see this merely as evidence that Republicans do not like data that could eventually undermine their policy arguments.  On any budget deal, the devil is in the details.  On this recent one, Lucifer seems to have lots of places to hang out.

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Copyright 2011 Liberaland
By: Stuart Shapiro

Stuart is a professor and the Director of the Public Policy
program at the Bloustein School of Planning and Public Policy at Rutgers
University. He teaches economics and cost-benefit analysis and studies
regulation in the United States at both the federal and state levels.
Prior to coming to Rutgers, Stuart worked for five years at the Office
of Management and Budget in Washington under Presidents Clinton and
George W. Bush.

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