Tuesday, June 1, 2010

Economic Ignorance

This is admittedly very funny: but it’s not as absurd as they’d like it to be. The question they have—where is the money going to come from?—is clear: from private investors or from the printing presses. It’s not self-evidently absurd—instead it is a policy with some benefits and some costs.

Libertarian economists like to bemoan the lack of economic sophistication on the part of the voter (e.g. The Myth of the Rational Voter), but the ignorance shown to the ideas of Keynesian economics are just as profound—no politician should be able to say the sentence “as the American family tightens its belt, the government should tighten its belt too.” And yet you hear it all the time, and the political class is seized by a mania for cost-cutting—well, preventing new costs, at least: it shows little to no desire to attacking the substantive issues of the deficit. Which at the moment is more than fine, I suppose, but it’s clear the economic ignorance extends from the public to its politicians.

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