Friday, July 1, 2016

Meet Trump's New Favorite Think Tank

Presumed Republican presidential nominee Donald Trump has a new favorite think tank, and it is not who you think.  You may have guessed something like the Heritage Foundation or the Hudson Institute or even the Hoover Institution.  Wrong, wrong, and wrong.

Trump's new favorite think tank is the liberal, union-backed think tank Economic Policy Institute (EPI).  No folks, we are not making this up.  On June 28 Trump gave an economic and trade speech which frequently cited statistics from EPI.  In fact, in a footnoted version of the speech, he cited EPI 20 times.  There was nary a single citation from a conservative think tank, which he also relies on from time to time.

The only other think tanks mentioned in the citations were the liberal Center on Budget and Policy Priorities (CBPP) and the conservative Tax Foundation, which each had one citation.

EPI, of course, it not too keen on being linked to Donald Trump, and has called his latest take on trade a "scam."  After all, EPI bills itself as the first (and the premier) think tank to focus on the economic conditions of low- and middle-income Americans and their families.  Being linked to a billionaire is a huge no-no.

From 2010 to 2014, about 57% of EPI funding came from foundation grants, while another 27% came from labor unions.  The remainder came from a mix of organizations, corporations, individuals, and others.

The Wall Street Journal recently called EPI "the AFL-CIO's think tank," referring to the largest federation of unions in the United States.