Don’t mistake careful critique of data for a partisan low blow

In his Aug. 11 article about think tanks (“Thinking big, but on whose dime? And to what end?” Page A1) Bryan Bender unfairly characterized me as engaging in attacks that were “partisan” and less than “high-minded” during a debate over immigration reform. He used as evidence my description of a Heritage Foundation report as “astonishing” and “riddled with methodological errors, and . . . when you correct these methodological errors you reverse [the] result.”

Bender failed to mention that I was critiquing Heritage’s widely discredited claim that proposed bipartisan immigration reform would increase the federal deficit by $6.3 trillion over 50 years. My research, by contrast, implied that it would reduce the deficit by $200 billion the first decade and more in succeeding decades.

He also failed to inform readers that the nonpartisan Congressional Budget Office subsequently calculated that immigration reform would reduce the deficit by $197 billion the first decade and $700 billion more the second decade, consistent with my findings. Conducting rigorous, careful research and pointing out errors of analysis by others, as I did, is neither low-minded nor partisan.

Robert G. Lynch

Silver Spring, Md.

The writer is a professor of economics at Washington College.