Day By Day

Thursday, November 30, 2006

On What Do Economists Agree?

Hat Tip, Greg Mankiw [original article behind subscription screen]. Read his summary here.

A survey of members of the American Economic Association shows some interesting areas of agreement:
  • 90.1 percent disagree with the position that "the U.S. should restrict employers from outsourcing work to foreign countries."
  • 87.5 percent agree that "the U.S. should eliminate remaining tariffs and other barriers to trade."
  • 85.2 percent agree that "the U.S. should eliminate agricultural subsidies."
  • 85.3 percent agree that "the gap between Social Security funds and expenditures will become unsustainably large within the next fifty years if current policies remain unchanged."
  • 77.2 percent agree that "the best way to deal with Social Security's long-term funding gap is to increase the normal retirement age."
  • 67.1 percent agree that "parents should be given educational vouchers which can be used at government-run or privately-run schools."
  • 65.0 percent agree that "the U.S. should increase energy taxes."
Note that this professional consensus constitutes a ringing endorsement of major themes advanced by the Bush administration: promoting free trade and economic globalization; fixing social security; and choice in education, all of which the Democrat Party currently opposes.

The only Democrat proposal among those with majority support among professional economists is an increase in energy taxes and that is opposed by one-third of the economists surveyed.
The Democrats' signature policy proposal, raising the minimum wage, was approved by only 37.7 percent of the economists, while nearly half [46.8 percent] wanted to eliminate the minimum wage altogether.

Yet the dominant political mood in this country, certified in the recent elections, runs directly counter to the recommendations of the experts. Expect a Democrat majority in Congress to push for economic policies that the experts agree will be economically debilitating at best, and potentially catastrophic.

If the Bush administration, which to date has had a superb economic record, cannot stand tough against the Democrats, there will be bad days ahead for us all.

No comments: