Veronique de Rugy reports and comments on a WSJ column by Dan Klein:
Which Political Party Understands Economics Best?
That's the question asked by George Mason University's Dan Klein in the Wall Street Journal this morning.
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.
Klein's results come from a survey of 4,835 respondents (all American adults) in which he asked them to answer eight survey questions about basic economics and then asked about their political leanings: progressive/very liberal; liberal; moderate; conservative; very conservative; and libertarian.
Read the details here. It's quite amazing. Notice that libertarians rocked this test:
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.
The WSJ piece is based on research that Klein did a few months ago with his co-author, Columbia University psychologist Zeljka Buturovic. Among other things, they show that thinking like an economist is not correlated to going to college. They also find that it is the highest among those self-identifying as “conservative” and “libertarian,” and descends through “moderate,” “liberal,” and “progressive.” Other variables include party affiliation, religious participation, union membership, NASCAR fandom, and Walmart patronage. Their results were originally published here.
This doesn't really do anything but put concrete numbers to what we already anecdotally knew: liberals suck at economics. Just look at history every time liberal run the show. They've expanded government (thus taking away individual freedoms) in monstrous leaps, hammered the private sector, penalized success and prosperity through high taxation, and pulled just about every poor economic rabbit that exists out of their hat.
I don't think it's any coincidence, either, that it is liberals who tend to take sides on issues based purely on feelings rather than how things work in the world. It's why I think they suck at just about every other policy area, too. Illegal immigration? They want to feel good about giving illegals a better life (never mind all the horrendous expenses, crime, health risks, or security problems). Welfare? They want to ease people's suffering and difficulty (never mind how much taxpayer money it costs, and how self-destructive a permanent entitlement mindset is). War on Terror? They think we just need to understand why those poor Muslims from those hot and dirty desert countries are so mad at us (never mind the fact that Islam itself repeatedly demands they kill or subjugate all non-Muslims). Universal health care? They want everyone to have everything they could ever wish for because anything less is unfair (never mind the realities of cost, supply and demand, research and development, or just how unfair their notion of 'fairness' is).
See how it works? For liberals, it's never about the real world, but rather about how they feel about the real world. It never ceases to amaze me how liberals never seem to think forward to their professed utopia. What if they actually get what they want? Will they actually be thrilled if America digresses into a pseudo-European nation that is only marginally prosperous, has a smothering level of taxation, little growth or innovation, no military to speak of, and a stagnant job market? Those are the end results of the policies they're advocating (we can see most of them real-time in present day Europe), so is that what they genuinely want? But no, they don't think that far ahead. For liberals, there is nothing other than the feelings of the moment, and that means politically correct 'fairness', warm fuzzies, puppies, rainbows, and unicorns.
And now we have the numbers to prove it.
There's my two cents.