Tuesday, June 8, 2010

Are you smarter than a fifth grader?

On many occasions speaking before the Brunswick Town Council, I’ve uttered the following in one variation or another:

1) You can govern, or you can spend.

2) The first law of economics is that resources are limited, and there are competing demands for them.  The first law of politics is to ignore the first law of economics.

The situation we find ourselves in today includes the passage of another town budget that fails to confront the harsh realities we face, and an election in which $100 million in bonds is before state voters, and almost guaranteed approval.  Who can resist the temptation of ‘free money,’ especially when you include a 3 to 1 federal match in many cases?  So what….we encumber Maine residents to the tune of $100 million more, and US residents for another $200 million or more.  It’s only MONEY!

The Ostrich, as you might expect, has offered it’s usual clueless belief in the tooth fairy to back up its support for any and all bonds.  And completely ignored the huge unfunded liability in Maine, and massive amounts of debt approved in prior years.

This reporter has long held certain opinions about who informs their positions with facts, logic, economic principles, etc.  And who doesn’t.

As chance would have it, today’s Wall Street Journal contains a column in which the author describes how “self-identified liberals and Democrats do badly on questions of basic economics.”  It certainly confirms suspicions held by this observer.

Here’s the link: Are you smarter than a fifth grader?  A few key passages follow.

Who is better informed about the policy choices facing the country—liberals, conservatives or libertarians? According to a Zogby International survey …. the answer is unequivocal: The left flunks Econ 101.

The author is a Professor of Economics, and bases his findings on a survey of 4,835 American adults.  He concludes:

Governmental power joined with wrongheadedness is something terrible, but all too common. Realizing that many of our leaders and their constituents are economically unenlightened sheds light on the troubles that surround us.

Do Greece and much of the rest of Europe come to mind, anyone?  Perhaps a cliff that America is getting ready to jump off, ably aided by all levels of government?

Sometimes, the most complex problems boil down to the very simplest of truths, and our failure to acknowledge them.  Or even worse, knowingly defy them.

Technorati Tags: ,,

1 comment:

  1. Where or where has Mr. Poppycock gone, oh where oh where can he be. Our bile tanks are running on empty and we need the pithy pen that pulverizes the pusilanimous politicians and prodigal public parasites.

    Perhaps you are reveling in the euphoria of the yes vote on 1, nay you would have been mystified by the dichotomy of the approval yet again of all the bond issues.