Jim often asks if anyone on the left even walked by an economics class in college. Thanks to a fascinating study, we now know the answer…they didn’t.
Zogby researcher, Zeljka Buturovic and George Mason University economics professor, Daniel Klein conducted a study in which 4835 American adults participated. Each participant was asked 8 questions about economic principles, and, each participant was asked to describe both their political leanings and their party affiliation. For each question, actually each statement, the participants were asked whether they strongly agree with the statement, agree with the statement, disagree with the statement, strongly disagree with the statement, or, whether they weren’t sure.
Here are the statements. (Take the test yourself, as, you will only learn the answers by going to the link…no peeking…but I will tell you that a “not sure” answer was not counted as a wrong answer.
Mandatory licensing of professional services increases the prices of those services.
Overall, the standard of living is higher today than it was 30 years ago.
Rent control leads to housing shortages.
A company with the largest market share is a monopoly.
Third World workers working for American companies overseas are being exploited.
Free trade leads to unemployment.
Minimum wage laws raise unemployment.
Restrictions on housing development make housing less affordable.
These statements are simply basic economic principles, not implicating political views at all. And yet, the results of the testing are quite extraordinary when compared to the political leanings or party affiliation of those responding.
On average, those who consider themselves to be progressive/liberal got 5.26 of the 8 questions wrong, those considering themselves to be liberal got 4.69 of the 8 questions wrong. Moderates got 3.67 wrong, conservatives got 1.67 wrong, libertarians got 1.38 wrong, and very conservatives got 1.3 wrong. Breaking the results down by party affiliation, Democrats answered 4.59 of the 8 questions incorrectly, Republicans answered 1.61 incorrectly, and Libertarians answered 1.26 incorrectly.
The failure on the part of the left to have even a rudimentary knowledge of economics is leading this administration to make terrible decisions that will reverberate for decades. Taking a “feels good” approach to economics is a disaster. You can’t change the fundamental laws of economics no matter how well-meaning you are, and, no matter how hard you try.