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William Niskanen

In many cases they are operating on different facts. The facts may be be part of a larger story but in many cases people pay attention only to those they like rather than all of the facts which bear on the issue. In some cases it's just misunderstanding and in others the kinds of facts they use depend on policy positions they've already decided. That's often the case with elected officials in that they feel that taking a policy position in favor of some particular industry or segment of the economy will increase their probability of being reelected and so pay attention to only those facts that help them. For example, we increased the price of sugar by restricting sugar imports and the consequence was that some of our candy manufacturers moved to Canada. So which of those facts you pay attention to depends upon whether you're catering to the Florida sugar growers or to those who used to make candy in Tennessee.

Cato Institute Chairman Emeritus and Senior Economist, William Niskanen