In response to the letter I sent to my two in-state Senators from the Great State of Ohio, regarding the use of contingent valuation by the National Park Service and Senator Vitter's letter use of Hausman's 'Dubious' critique to argue against,in which I wrote:
I have recently read Senator Vitter's letter to the National Park Service dismissive of the use of survey methods (the contingent valuation method in particular) in benefit-cost analysis. In dismissing the method, Senator Vitter cites an article by economics Professor Jerry Hausman published in the Journal of Economic Perspectives in 2012. In choosing to selectively use Professor Hausman's critique of the contingent valuation method, Senator Vitter fails to mention that Professor Hausman's critique is one of three articles in a symposium in that issue of the journal, of which the other two articles provide much more positive assessments of the method.
The selective use of a single publication from a vast peer-reviewed literature to defend a stance critical of the use of a method flies in the face of responsible use of academic research and will ultimately lead to bad public policy.
I received the following reply this morning:
Thank you for contacting me regarding your concerns about funding for national parks. I understand your concerns with this matter and share your love of the outdoors. Ohio's lakes, rivers and wildlife are truly a treasure and protecting and preserving them is a top priority for me. During my tenure as the Director of the Office of Management and Budget, I launched the National Parks Centennial Initiative in an effort to preserve our national parks.
Unfortunately, as American families have tightened their belts over the past couple of years and businesses have had to do more with less, the federal government has taken the opposite path, spending more, growing bigger, and becoming more involved in our economy and our lives. Getting our deficit and debt under control is the single most important step we can take to get our economy going, create the jobs we need so badly, and have federal funding available for priorities like national parks.
I am committed to working in a bipartisan manner to meet our economic and fiscal challenges by putting in place pro-growth measures and spending restraint. We need to promote new tax policies that take away the uncertainty and encourage innovation and investment and make us more competitive in a global economy. We must revisit health care reform to truly reduce costs, allowing working families and small businesses to afford access to care. We need sensible regulatory reform that reverses the growing burdens on employers that drive jobs overseas. Finally, we have to develop a national energy strategy that uses our own resources to stop our dangerous dependence on foreign oil.
Once again, thank you for taking the time to write. I am honored to represent you and the great state of Ohio in the United States Senate. For more information, please visit my website at portman.senate.gov. Please keep in touch.
Call me skeptical, but I don't get the feeling he really wants me to keep in touch...or really read my letter for that matter.