Monday, June 14, 2010

Liberals Flunk Economics

Or so Zogby would have you believe.

They did a poll where they made statements about "basic economic" issues and saw that the left-leaning people got the answers wrong.

Now, you're probably expecting these basic statements to be something very clear and non-controversial. Something like "Inflation is the gradual increase in the price of goods" and such.

No such luck. Let's go over the statements and correct answers.

"Restrictions on housing development make housing less affordable"
According to the WSJ, smart people would agree. Dumb people, on the left, disagree.
I guess that depends on the restrictions. Restrictions requiring developers to make a certain portion of their buildings as accessible to low-income earners would make housing more affordable, wouldn't it?

Mandatory licensing of professional services increases the prices of those services (unenlightened answer: disagree)
Unenlightened? Whatever. Yes, services are more expensive because we license engineers and plumbers and what not. You could also have unlicensed people work in your house and end up having to pay for most of your jobs to be done twice. Then add in the cost of the damages to your house done by the first guy. Depends on what you count.

Overall, the standard of living is higher today than it was 30 years ago (unenlightened answer: disagree).
This depends very much on exactly where your numbers come from and which segment of society you mean. Are we talking wage disparity? Access to health care? Longevity? The inflation accounted income for the lowest quintile of Americans has dropped since a peak in the early 1970s. Rich people are doing fine, though.

3) Rent control leads to housing shortages (unenlightened answer: disagree).
Again, it depends on the "rent control" in question. Done properly, it's merely a way of keeping your landlord from holding you hostage in your own home, gouging against the expense of moving. Done improperly, it can cause shortages because no one wants to rent out houses anymore.

4) A company with the largest market share is a monopoly (unenlightened answer: agree).
If this was the statement, not paraphrased, then I agree that the answer is no. A company has to have all, or nearly all, of the market share to be a monopoly.

Third World workers working for American companies overseas are being exploited (unenlightened answer: agree).
The "unenlightened" would agree? Who are the fucking idiots who don't think third world workers are being exploited? Are the union leaders being assassinated in Colombia not enough of a hint? Or the sports shoe sweatshops? What world is Zogby living in that doesn't have exploited third world workers?

Free trade leads to unemployment (unenlightened answer: agree).
Actually, yes it does. When NAFTA came to my home town, it shut down two steel plants, a Union Carbide and a bunch of other plants. Those people became unemployed. Even in the Libertarian Faery Dust version of things, free trade causes unemployment, but the Faery Dust comes and retrains the 50-year-old steel worker as an IT consultant.
Yes. Free Trade also causes employment - in Mexico and other such places. But don't pretend it doesn't cause unemployment, at the very least in the immediate sense.
That kind of pretense is simply unenlightened.

Minimum wage laws raise unemployment (unenlightened answer: disagree).
Minimum wage causes unemployment, does it? I'd like to see them prove it. What it does, in my considered opinion, is distribute income away from multi-billion dollar corporations toward their employees. This creates local expenditures (local goods) rather than remote ones (yacht, villas and the like).

After going through this list, I'm going to have to argue that the guys at Zogby are a bunch of right-wing, wealthy, ideologically-locked jackasses too full of their own pomposity and arrogance to evaluate anyone else. Their conclusion is that, basically, anyone who disagrees with their biases (the same biases that have led the United States in to its current financial disaster) must be stupid.

Best of luck, assholes.

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