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(Bloomberg)   Economists agree on most major macroeconomic issues - it's politics that makes it appear otherwise   (bloomberg.com) divider line 5
    More: Obvious, U.S., Ramesh Ponnuru, Arthur Laffer, mainstream economists, Jeffrey Goldberg, economics  
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1678 clicks; posted to Politics » on 24 Jul 2012 at 11:14 AM (1 year ago)   |  Favorite    |   share:  Share on Twitter share via Email Share on Facebook   more»



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2012-07-24 06:03:36 PM
1 votes:

born_yesterday: The physical sciences rely on theory being affirmed by experimentation. Can't economists point to examples of the implementation of a law and the consequences that follow? I'm guessing they can't, or that's where arguments arise, due to it being an open system with outside factors.


I always explain it like this:

The laws of economics are constructs invented by man to explain, predict and record collective human behavior. What that means is that economics is a number-crunching science much like physics, filling in values and numbers and formulas in an impossibly massive equation. Unlike physics, however, the mathematics of economics don't always work the way we think they will because they are subject to human farking behavior.

So we don't actually know what that equation looks like. We have general ideas of what parts of it look like and how it operates, but no one understands the complete, big picture to mathematical clarity, such that when we make small adjustments to the equation like changing interest rates or deregulating investment brackets, the results surprise us. Because they're almost nothing like what we predicted would happen. Not even supply and demand works the way it should.

Economics is simultaneously a hard and soft science. The changes people make to the great economics algorithm are always blind, usually self-serving, and won't work the same way forever.

There are men who come forth every now and then -- Keynes, Friedman, Greenspan, etc -- who propose theories and write treatises on how to manipulate the equation to make good things happen, and people put these theories to the test...and the theories always get things temporarily right and partly wrong, but no theory ever gets it completely right.
2012-07-24 02:24:58 PM
1 votes:

seanpg71: But Democrats aren't trying to support those on economic reasons.


Democrats support those ideas because they believe they will help the working poor. I recognize that reasonable minds may differ, but that sounds like an 'economic reason' to me. Economists believe that those policies actually end up hurting the working poor, not helping them. The policy is misguided no matter what the underlying intent.

Your argument seems to be to be more "Democrats support bad economic policies while having good intentions, while Republicans support bad economic policies while having bad intentions." That's a fine argument to make, and it's probably true. I just don't particularly care what the politician's motivation is, I only care about the policies they support. Politicians that support bad polices with good intentions are no better (and sometimes worse) then politicians that support bad policies with bad intentions.
2012-07-24 12:21:12 PM
1 votes:
While the main point of the article, that there is widespread agreement among economists on a number of issues, the article itself is misleading. It discusses points of agreement among economists that Republicans disagree with, and it discusses points of agreement among economists that *both* parties disagree with, but ignores those areas where there is broad consensus among economists that only Democrats disagree with.

For example, here's a list of ten things that have a broad base of support among economists.

Rent control limits quantity/quality of housing 93 %
Tariffs and quotas reduce economic welfare 93 %
The United States should not restrict employers from outsourcing work to foreign countries. 90 %
Floating exchange rates are effective international monetary policy 90 %
The United States should eliminate agricultural subsidies 85 %
The gap between Social Security funds and expenditures will become unsustainably large within the next fifty years if current policies remain unchanged 85 %
Large federal deficits adversely affect the economy 83 %
Welfare should be administered as a negative income tax 79 %
A minimum wage increases unemployment among young and unskilled workers 79 %
Taxes and permits are a better way to control pollution than pollution ceilings 78 %

Note that at least three of those (indicated in bold) are issues that Democrats would not support, despite broad support from economists, but which Republicans likely would. A couple (noted in italics) are issues neither party would support.
2012-07-24 11:27:13 AM
1 votes:
well duh
2012-07-24 11:22:28 AM
1 votes:
All started by the lie that is supply-side economics.

There isn't even a trickle of money going down when production is off-shored.
 
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