Why Is It Relevant That EPI Gets Money from Teacher Unions, But It's Not Relevant That Erskine Bowles Gets $350,000 a Year from Morgan Stanley?

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Tuesday, 28 June 2011 04:15

The NYT has a piece this morning on the teacher evaluation policy used in the Washington, DC schools. The end of the piece includes a quote from Mark Simon who works on education issues with the Economic Policy Institute (my former employer). In identifying the Economic Policy Institute (EPI), the NYT added the comment:

"which receives teachers’ union financing."

While it is arguably relevant that EPI gets teacher union funding in this context, it is unusual for the NYT to present the sources of financing for individuals or organizations who get large amounts of money from the corporate sector.

The most obvious example of this difference in policies is Erskine Bowles, one of the co-chairs of President Obama's deficit commission. Mr. Bowles receives $350,000 a year as a director of Morgan Stanley. It is worth noting that the Bowles-Simpson report did not include a financial speculation tax or any other tax on the financial sector, making Wall Street one of the few industries to escape unscathed. This is especially striking since there has been a major push by many in Washington and around the world for a financial speculation tax and even the International Monetary Fund has called for a substantial increase in taxes on the financial sector.

In the same vein, the NYT printed a blogpost by Laura Tyson, another Morgan Stanley director, arguing against taking any steps to lower the value of the dollar against the Chinese yuan. Morgan Stanley has substantial interests in China. The NYT did not identify Ms. Tyson's ties to Morgan Stanley in this piece.