Self-identified liberals and Democrats do badly on questions of basic economics.

Discussion in 'Current Events' started by outamyway, Jun 8, 2010.

  1. outamyway

    outamyway New Member

    Are You Smarter Than a Fifth Grader?

    Self-identified liberals and Democrats do badly on questions of basic economics.

    Who is better informed about the policy choices facing the country—liberals, conservatives or libertarians? According to a Zogby International survey that I write about in the May issue of Econ Journal Watch, the answer is unequivocal: The left flunks Econ 101.

    Zogby researcher Zeljka Buturovic and I considered the 4,835 respondents' (all American adults) answers to eight survey questions about basic economics. We also asked the respondents about their political leanings: progressive/very liberal; liberal; moderate; conservative; very conservative; and libertarian.
    Rather than focusing on whether respondents answered a question correctly, we instead looked at whether they answered incorrectly. A response was counted as incorrect only if it was flatly unenlightened.

    Consider one of the economic propositions in the December 2008 poll: "Restrictions on housing development make housing less affordable." People were asked if they: 1) strongly agree; 2) somewhat agree; 3) somewhat disagree; 4) strongly disagree; 5) are not sure.

    Basic economics acknowledges that whatever redeeming features a restriction may have, it increases the cost of production and exchange, making goods and services less affordable. There may be exceptions to the general case, but they would be atypical.

    Therefore, we counted as incorrect responses of "somewhat disagree" and "strongly disagree." This treatment gives leeway for those who think the question is ambiguous or half right and half wrong. They would likely answer "not sure," which we do not count as incorrect.

    In this case, percentage of conservatives answering incorrectly was 22.3%, very conservatives 17.6% and libertarians 15.7%. But the percentage of progressive/very liberals answering incorrectly was 67.6% and liberals 60.1%. The pattern was not an anomaly.

    The other questions were: 1) Mandatory licensing of professional services increases the prices of those services (unenlightened answer: disagree). 2) Overall, the standard of living is higher today than it was 30 years ago (unenlightened answer: disagree). 3) Rent control leads to housing shortages (unenlightened answer: disagree). 4) A company with the largest market share is a monopoly (unenlightened answer: agree). 5) Third World workers working for American companies overseas are being exploited (unenlightened answer: agree). 6) Free trade leads to unemployment (unenlightened answer: agree). 7) Minimum wage laws raise unemployment (unenlightened answer: disagree)

    How did the six ideological groups do overall? Here they are, best to worst, with an average number of incorrect responses from 0 to 8: Very conservative, 1.30; Libertarian, 1.38; Conservative, 1.67; Moderate, 3.67; Liberal, 4.69; Progressive/very liberal, 5.26.

    Americans in the first three categories do reasonably well. But the left has trouble squaring economic thinking with their political psychology, morals and aesthetics.

    To be sure, none of the eight questions specifically challenge the political sensibilities of conservatives and libertarians. Still, not all of the eight questions are tied directly to left-wing concerns about inequality and redistribution. In particular, the questions about mandatory licensing, the standard of living, the definition of monopoly, and free trade do not specifically challenge leftist sensibilities.

    Yet on every question the left did much worse. On the monopoly question, the portion of progressive/very liberals answering incorrectly (31%) was more than twice that of conservatives (13%) and more than four times that of libertarians (7%). On the question about living standards, the portion of progressive/very liberals answering incorrectly (61%) was more than four times that of conservatives (13%) and almost three times that of libertarians (21%).

    The survey also asked about party affiliation. Those responding Democratic averaged 4.59 incorrect answers. Republicans averaged 1.61 incorrect, and Libertarians 1.26 incorrect.

    Adam Smith described political economy as "a branch of the science of a statesman or legislator." Governmental power joined with wrongheadedness is something terrible, but all too common. Realizing that many of our leaders and their constituents are economically unenlightened sheds light on the troubles that surround us.
  2. brett636

    brett636 Well-Known Member

    Overall i can't say I'm surprised. The majority of the liberals on this site seem to be completely ignorant to the laws of economics and how they are affected by government policy. There are only 3 good explanations for this, and not every liberal falls under the same explanation. 1: They are completely ignorant to the laws of economics 2. They are aware of the laws of economics and don't care or 3. They believe the laws of economics can be altered like how a law can be modified through congress or some other legal means. The base problem is they don't understand that the laws of economics are about as likley to change as the laws of gravity. They are absolute truths which cannot be altered or modified in anyway.
  3. bbsam

    bbsam Moderator Staff Member

    I think this is all done in a very, very, small minded way. Using the basic laws of economics restrictions are a bad thing? Is that like saying regulation is a bad thing? Even after financial melt-down and the BP fiasco? Workers in third world nations are being exploited, but it's no different in this country. I certainly don't claim to be any kind of econ wizard, but if these are the truths that the WSJ is alluding to, I think maybe we need to rein them in a bit much like the laws of left unfettered would have airplanes falling out of the sky.
  4. av8torntn

    av8torntn Well-Known Member

    I'd like to hear how giving up more freedom to the government will save us all given the fact that banking and energy are already among the most regulated areas of our lives. In case you haven't guessed yet regulations played major roles in causing these two events you are referring to.
  5. diesel96

    diesel96 New Member

    Two can play at this game.....

    "On the heels of health care, a new Harris poll reveals Republican attitudes about Obama: Two-thirds think he's a socialist, 57 percent a Muslim—and 24 percent say "he may be the Antichrist."

    Over 95% of Working Households Got Tax Cuts; Only 2% of Tea Baggers Know Obama Cut Their Taxes

    BC Conservatives, Here's one of your intelectual guest at one of your rallys that you so enthusiatically cheer and travel across America to

  6. bbsam

    bbsam Moderator Staff Member

    Oh. The regulators who weren't regulating? Yes that was a problem, but to
    then suggest that it was the existence of regulators that caused the problem rather than their failure to do their job is pure lunacy.
  7. av8torntn

    av8torntn Well-Known Member

    I'm not following you. Was it the lack of regulation that prevented them from drilling for oil in known oil deposits on land in the US? Was it the lack of regulation that prevented them from drilling for oil in known oil deposits in much shallower water just off our nations coasts? Was it the lack of regulations that prevented the state of LA from building barriers on their coast that would likely have stopped the flow of oil onto their shores? This disaster can be placed solely on the shoulders of high government regulation.
  8. av8torntn

    av8torntn Well-Known Member

    How many liberals admit or know that the goofy health reform act increases the tax burden by over 400 billion dollars in just ten years? How many liberals will admit or know that the tax burden for the average family of four under the Obama backed cap and trade bill will increase by $1200 a year? How many liberals or dimocrats will admit that the tax on expensive health care insurance will eventually affect the majority of union workers since the cap rises at a much slower pace than the cost of health care insurance is projected to rise causing many middle class families to either lose their current health insurance or face stiff taxes from the government?

    "The result: Government fails to protect the public. That conclusion is precisely the same for the financial services industry."

    "A big-government conservative administration failed in crisis, as has a big-government liberal administration. The regulatory state did not prevent excessive risk taking whether in financial services, nor perhaps in offshore oil drilling."

    "The Obama administration and Congress propose more of the same failed approach to regulation. Instead they should heed Hayek, who observed that "the curious task of economics is to demonstrate to men how little they really know about what they imagine they can design."

    Last edited: Jun 14, 2010
  9. diesel96

    diesel96 New Member

  10. moreluck

    moreluck golden ticket member

    You are in Dreamland if you think your taxes aren't going up (the under $250,000 group). Of course, if things change in Nov., the health plan may never get funded.
  11. bbsam

    bbsam Moderator Staff Member

    You are in dreamland if you think taxes aren't going up no matter what.
  12. av8torntn

    av8torntn Well-Known Member


    I think you just verified what the original article was saying.

    If i was following what you said.

    1) No you will not admit that the health care law passed raises taxes. You will blindly say that a "few" citizens have a trillion dollars to donate to the government every ten years and there will be no harm to freedom or the economy and nobody else will be affected. You will not even acknowledge the direct taxes on medical devices or tanning booths. After all nobody ever uses medical devices or tanning booths that make under 200 grand a year. So there is no reason to even go into the indirect taxes.

    2)That rant was really difficult to follow so I am guessing again that you refuse to admit once again this was another massive tax increase.

    3)I must say this is yet another odd rant of yours. It looks like you admit that yes most union employees and not just CEO's like the Obama regime claimed will either lose their health care coverage or be fined. Somehow it looks like you are trying to blame repubs or cap and trade for this and I'm gonna say in the kindest way that this paranoia may not be healthy.
  13. av8torntn

    av8torntn Well-Known Member

    Does not matter if this plan gets funded or not the taxes passed and signed into law will go on.
  14. bbsam

    bbsam Moderator Staff Member

    If you really believe that, then you simply refuse to believe any fact that doesn't fit you ideological view. It was the lack of regulation that allows oil companies not to have thought through this "worst case scenario" and had suitable plans to deal with it. It was the lack of regulation that allows oil companies to forgo the relief well that is still over a month away. It is a lack of regulation when the MMS not only sells the leases, but also "regulates" the industry setting up an obvious conflict of interest. It is a lack of regulation for the governments of both Bush and Obama to let inept and corrupt personel run the MMS. Yes in a simplistic, ideological, black and white capitalistic system, regulation is shunned. But our system is far more complex than that. If one thing can be gleaned from the past 18 months, it is that the markets will not regulate themselves anymore than a 747 will fly itself without complex input by both man and computer.
  15. av8torntn

    av8torntn Well-Known Member

    That's the perfect answer to validate the original article. So much so that it makes me giggle. You guys are entertaining if nothing else.

    The fact remains and nobody serious really disputes it that there is no lack of regulation in the areas you cite. If anything regulation is so complex as to make it almost impossible to follow them which leads companies to assume a certain amount of government fines and risk as a cost of doing business. It's dishonest to claim that there is no regulation to prevent the government from hiring or keeping someone corrupt. There are multiple regulations with the intention of the prevention of corruption in government. It is dishonest to claim there had to be no plan approved by the government in place to deal with a "worst case scenario". It was almost 600 pages long and approved just last year as flawed as it was.

    I'm pretty sure that you do not even know what cause the oil rig to explode but you assume that it was a lack of a mysterious regulation. To be a true liberal you must scream as loud as you can that we must have more regulations in place no matter the consequences those regulations may carry.

    Just as with the "markets" your government regulations have had unintended side effects. And just as the original article and polls suggest you choose to ignore that.
  16. bbsam

    bbsam Moderator Staff Member

    Oh, Av, now I'm the one giggling at you! You may cling mightily to your faith in unregulated free market and in so doing find a way to absolve the oil companies of any wrong doing, but you are in a self-deluded tail spin on that one. Just try selling that one to the American public. Wait. I'll get the pop corn. Tell us all about how if we, as the government, would just get out of the way and let financials, the health care industry, big oil, and industry as a whole simply chase profit at any cost, we will all be better off. Lead in the paint? Tell the little brats not to eat paint. Sub-prime loans? Foreclosure will take care of that. The fact is that the very little regulation there is has stymied even larger problems. Consider this: If not for regulation, do you think BP would even bother cleaning up the mess or consider paying what small damages they have to the fishing industry? Giggle in your smugness and I'll giggle as you continue to try to explain how up is down and down is up and how much more fascinatingly brilliant the conservative free ideology is. Oh, goodness. I'm giggling so much I'm starting to feel like a little school girl!
  17. av8torntn

    av8torntn Well-Known Member

    1) I would suggest that since you have the knowledge that lead in paint is harmful that you not purchase it.
    2) Do you honestly think that without government regulations and incentives encouraging and even forcing banks and then backing those loans to people who the banks know would likely not pay them back those loans would even be made? This part of your reply to me is farther proof that you guys refuse to acknowledge the impact your policies have on markets in the real world.
    3)Yet another dishonest statement. You could go to school for years to study all banking regulation and not even understand it all. There are massive government agencies that regulate and oversee the banking, housing, and even credit unions.
    4) Well since they have agreed to waive their liability cap and pay for any clean up costs involved my guess is not only yes they would buy yes they are.
    5)That is a new one. Normally when as in your last post you get caught making up "facts" to support your argument the normal path for a liberal is to first say you are just to simple minded, followed by well you are just ignorant, and then normally that is followed by you must be racist. I almost never get the you are just to smug to understand. Congrats on the creativity.
    6)The problem is that even a little school girl understands that in an individual is allowed to pursue his self interests it normally benefits the group as a whole.

    Very good job on adding additional proof that liberals do not understand the repercussions their policies have on markets. You refuse to even consider that without government regulation and incentives oil companies would not even be drilling in deep water. Now look what new mess your government intervention has caused. We can add deep water oil spill to the list that includes housing bubble and rising health care costs. Oh the list is much much longer than that but to avoid your confusion any farther I will limit it to just the things that you brought up.
  18. bbsam

    bbsam Moderator Staff Member

    Av you are just goofy smug.:happy-very: That's not creative, that's just fact. Just a little too impressed with your very limited intelligence. Much like the WSJ article.
  19. bbsam

    bbsam Moderator Staff Member

    Who will be the candidate who runs on less to no government regulation? Doublesize the popcorn and triple down on the butter! This will be fun.
  20. av8torntn

    av8torntn Well-Known Member

    There you go must've found your liberal zombie handbook again.

    Straight from page 7.

    When confronted by a superior argument.

    Step 1) Accuse your opponent of being simple minded. Check

    Step 2) Fabricate facts to support your argument. Note this is used as a transition to step three as you will be quickly outed so only use as a delay. Check

    Step 3) Accuse your opponent of being ignorant. Check

    Step 4) Claim racism, class warfare, they want to destroy the environment, or as a last resort accuse them of hating old people.

    Step 5) As you are being widely mocked deny you ever took a position in the first place.

    Are you a good enough liberal to make it to step four? Will you just skip to step five? Guess you were not creative at all. Now get back in lockstep and be a good little liberal.