- Very Conservative
- Progressive/ Very Liberal
- Strongly agree
- Somewhat agree
- Somewhat disagree
- Strongly disagree
- Not sure
What were the statements? What are the correct answers?
- Restrictions on housing development make housing less affordable. Answer: Strongly agree
- Mandatory licensing of professional services increases the prices of those services. Answer: Strongly agree.
- Overall, the standard of living is higher today than it was 30 years ago. Answer: Strongly agree.
- Rent control leads to housing shortages. Answer: Strongly agree.
- A company with the largest market share is a monopoly. Answer: Strongly disagree.
- Third World workers working for American companies overseas are being exploited. Answer: Strongly disagree.
- Free trade leads to unemployment. Answer: Strongly disagree.
- Minimum wage laws raise unemployment. Answer: Strongly agree.
Question 5 is really just an understanding of a definition, but as such, it requires some knowledge of economics as a study. Question 3 requires some knowledge of how people lived 30 years ago, so it requires a bit of historical knowledge, which many young people may find challenging to come by. Since young people are indoctrinated by the public schools and universities to become liberals and commonly have little historical knowledge of 30 years ago, this question may be a bit hard for some of them.
Question 7 is a more abstract question to which the answer is somewhat harder to think through on one's own. But, Adam Smith and many others long ago figured this out. It is reasonable to expect that the answer should be common knowledge today. There are many special interests and political groups which have spread claims that free trade leads to unemployment, at least in the developed countries. They claim that low-cost-of-labor countries are stealing American jobs. But their wages are lower because they are less productive or production in their countries is less efficient or involves greater investment risks. Many Americans only see the company making buggy whips whose product is now more cheaply produced in Kenya, so the American company has laid off workers. They fail to see that the workers who were once employed making buggy whips are now becoming employed to make biomedical prostheses and infrared sensors and the old buggy whip manufacturing building is now being used to produce Kindles. Study after study has shown that free trade leads to more jobs in the U.S. and across the world, while raising most people's standard of living. But, it is clear that it is helpful to know some economics to understand the right answer to this question. But also remember, one does not need to know the right answer, one only needs to know what one knows and what one does not know. The answer 'I do not know' is not wrong. It is not wrongheaded. It is not a pretense to knowledge one does not have.
So, what are the results of this test for economic wrongheadedness? Who across the political spectrum is found to be a big-headed pretender to knowledge? Each very wrongheaded answer adds 1 to the score of each person. The average for each person in each self-identified part of the political spectrum is given below.
- Very conservative, 1.30
- Libertarian, 1.38
- Conservative, 1.67
- Moderate, 3.67
- Liberal, 4.69
- Progressive/ Very liberal, 5.26
Progressives answered the monopoly question badly wrong 31% of the time, while conservatives were badly wrong only 13% of the time. Libertarians were so wrong only 7% of the time.
The Progressives were wrong on the living standard comparison 61% of the time, while conservatives were wrong 13% of the and libertarians were wrong 21% of the time.
Broken down on party lines the results were:
- Libertarians, 1.26
- Republicans, 1.61
- Democrats, 4.59
Ms. Buturovic noted that men scored better than women, as did married people better compared to those who were single. She noted that particularly poor scores were earned by those who never shop at Wal-Mart or who consider themselves residents of the 'planet Earth', rather than of America or the city or town where they live. She says, "It took many centuries for basic economic concepts and principles to be discovered so, in a sense, it is not that surprising that some people are having trouble grasping them."
Of those who have had trouble grasping the principles and concepts of economics, unusual numbers have become politicians, book writers, newspapermen, network news announcers of the mainstream media, public school teachers, and university professors outside of economics departments. The elitists who believe they should rule America through socialist governments are happily wrongheaded about basic economics concepts and eager to force their mistakes on the rest of us. We can readily see that in efforts of government to micromanage the economy through long-discredited central planning, the constant meddling in our personal lives, the excessive taxes, the still more excessive government spending, the self-indulgent salaries and benefits of government workers, the claims of government job creation in the private sector, and the many special interest groups chosen as the recipients of income and wealth redistribution thefts.