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June 9, 2010
Progressives: Ye Shall Know Them by Their Economic Ignorance
Economics professor Daniel Klein has apparently found a significant blind spot in the progressive intellect. Ignorance of basic economics seems to be a consistent trait in the ultra-liberal mind, a place where ideology trumps reason and logic.
In his June 8 Wall Street Journal article, "Are You Smarter Than a Fifth Grader", Klein explains:
The Zogby survey asked 4,835 American adults to identify their political ideology as either libertarian, very conservative, conservative, moderate, liberal, or progressive/very liberal. They were then provided eight fairly basic economic assertions, and asked to respond to each statement.
The correct response, of course, is to agree with the statement. After all, fewer available houses will naturally make them more expensive. This is simple supply and demand economics. In this survey question, the only incorrect responses counted were "somewhat disagree" and "strongly disagree". "Not sure" was not an incorrect answer for any of the questions.
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.
Based on party affiliation, Democrats averaged 4.59 incorrect answers, Republicans averaged 1.61 incorrect, and Libertarians 1.26 incorrect. As Mr. Kline states, "The pattern was not an anomaly." It is compelling evidence that the further you lean left, the more ignorant you are of basic economics.
This test appears to be a wonderful indicator of political ideology. Ask your friends and family these questions and see where they stand. They may learn something in the process.
While we're at it, I can think of a few more. Ask if they agree with the following statements:
"We can borrow our way out of debt."
"Higher taxes on the ‘wealthy' will revive the economy."
"Government control of health care will improve quality and reduce costs."
"Taxing carbon dioxide production will lead to energy independence."
"Pigs can fly and unicorns are real."
Andrew Thomas blogs at Darkangelpolitics.com