Monday, May 27, 2019

The War on Data Continues

by Calculated Risk on 5/27/2019 10:33:00 AM

Three years ago I wrote: The War on Data

Unfortunately the war on data has continued unabated, as Catherine Rampell noted last week in the WaPo: The Trump administration’s war on statistics isn’t slowing down

Don’t like the numbers? Invent new numbers instead.

Or make it harder to collect trustworthy numbers next time.

Or just put the squeeze on the number crunchers themselves.

Slowly but surely, the Trump administration has been chipping away at the independence and integrity of our federal statistical agencies, whose data is critical to keeping our democracy functioning and our economy healthy.

Presumably the Trump administration has calculated that doctoring statistical models, skewing survey results and trying to strong-arm statisticians will serve its near-term political interests. In the long term, however, sowing distrust in government data only reduces the ability of policymakers, businesses and voters to make informed decisions.
There are no "alternative facts", and this war on data should concern everyone - ignoring or misrepresenting data leads to irresponsible comments and poor policy decisions.