The Overwhelming Choice of 9 Out of 17 Economists?

It just might be the worst endorsement ever. Seventeen top economists were asked who would be better for the economy: Romney or Obama. It was clearly viewed as a question of the lesser of two evils by the economists. Nine out of 17 economists selected Romney but Bill Watkins, executive director of the Center for Economic Research and Forecasting at Cal Lutheran University, selected Romney with the world’s best example of damning with faint praise: “Romney’s policies would likely be less bad for the economy than Obama’s.” Like five others, Gary Rosenberger of EconoPlay, simply refused to “pick your poison” between the two men.

I love “polls” with just 17 individuals with at least five refusing to give you an answer.

Of course, Obama did fare worse with the economists but the survey shows that economists, like many Americans, do not see a strong choice between the two men. The result of a monopoly is often less choice and that goes for business or for politics when only two parties control the nation.
Source: CNN

75 thoughts on “The Overwhelming Choice of 9 Out of 17 Economists?”

  1. Gene,
    I saw that Reich article. Some good questions, but I have one for President Obama: If torture is illegal, why aren’t the torturers from Gitmo and Bagram and the black sites not under prosecution and why aren’t Bush administration officials who authorized not being prosecuted?
    And one for Mr. Romney: Will you amend your 2011 tax return to regain the credit that you partially gave up in order to reduce your tax rate?

  2. Bron,

    It’s really funny that you’re cherry picking a scientific humanist (which is what I am). What Wilson’s describing in that passage is group psychology. The group dynamic he’s talking about is almost perfectly reflected in the way Thomas Edison worked (in contrast to how Nikola Tesla worked). Edison was “an idea man”. He thought of something and then essentially farmed out the details to the “sub-contractors” in his lab (one of whom was Tesla before he realized what a thunder-stealing schmuck Edison was). The way Edison worked though is the way many if not most modern innovators work. Tesla on the other hand was “a build it and they will come” kind of inventor. A Da Vinci. He had an idea, he put it into motion himself. Two different equally valid working methodologies for getting a plan from inception to working model, however, only Tesla was truly an inventor in the solitary manner the Mittens claims to champion. That’s because Tesla was about a hundred times more intelligent and personally capable than Edison (although not nearly the politician Edison was). The Tesla’s of the world are the exception, not the rule, and they are growing rarer as science and technology become more complicated. What Wilson is saying in that passage says nothing about genetic altruism. In fact, one of Wilson’s favorite theories – group selection – predicts genetic altruism.

    You really need to learn to quit cherry picking.

  3. sociobiologist E. O. Wilson on innovation in society:

    “Wilson: No, not at all. In fact, I couldn’t agree with you more . . . And I’ve been in on a lot of discoveries, you know, new developments, and so I have known people intimately that were doing it themselves. So I know how real innovation takes place, and it’s not “groupthink.” It is not going to come from taking a bunch of real bright people and putting them in one of these “think tanks” and asking them to sit together in front of a blackboard and think together and produce great ideas. That’s not the way it works. It works when one mind—usually rebellious, in a way; usually ambitious; enterprising—decides to do something new, preferably where no one has tried before, and goes for it. And what you find then, time and again, is an individual like that, a real innovator. And they’re in every society, they’re in every larger group, you have to find who they are. In high school, for example, they’ll be the “nerd,” the kid “least likely to succeed,” who’s on no team but who’s always doodling with something, or crazy about the chemistry lab, or something like this. And that one person then pursues it; it requires a spirit of entrepreneurship. Entrepreneurship if anything is more important than high IQ. That person then gathers people, collaborators: one here who can do the mathematical model at a high level; another one there that can do the natural products, chemistry; another there who knows how to design the right computer programs to push the thing forward. And before long you have a group. But that’s not the group that innovated. [They didn’t] have the dream—that [came from] one person. You’re right. And that’s not going to disappear at all.”

    (Edward O. Wilson, discussing his book “The Social Conquest of Earth” at the Free Library of Philadelphia on 4/24/12, broadcast on C-SPAN2’s Book TV.)

    hmmm, I guess he did build that. Maybe altruism isnt genetically encoded after all.

  4. Questions That Are Unlikely to Be Asked Wednesday Night by Robert Reich

    “Governor Romney: You’ve said that you have used every legal method to reduce your tax liability. You’ve also said that as president you would close tax loopholes in order to help finance a major across-the-board tax cut. What specific tax loopholes have you used that you would close? A followup: Would you close the loophole that allows private-equity managers to treat their income as capital gains, subject to a 15 percent tax, even when they risk no capital of their own?

    President Obama: You have spoken eloquently of the need to reduce the influence of big money in politics. What specific measures will you advance if you are reelected to accomplish this goal?

    Governor Romney: You have promised to repeal the Dodd-Frank bill if you’re elected. Yet our largest Wall Street banks are significantly larger than they were before the near meltdown of 2008. How would you prevent another bank from being too big to fail?

    President Obama: The Dallas Federal Reserve Board, one of the most conservative in the nation, has called for a limit to the size of Wall Street banks. Sanford Weill, the creator of Citigroup — one of the largest Wall Street banks — says Wall Street banks should be broken up. If you are reelected, will you support capping the size of Wall Street banks?

    Governor Romney: You have said you’d repeal the Affordable Care Act if you’re elected. That would leave 30 million Americans without health insurance. You championed a small version of the Affordable Care Act in Massachusetts. Does that mean you believe it’s more efficient for each state to have its own system for insuring the uninsured?

    President Obama: Last December, in a speech you gave in Osawatomie, Ks., you noted that in the last few decades the average income of the top 1 percent has gone up by more than 250 percent, to $1.2 million per year. For the top one hundredth of 1 percent, the average income is now $27 million per year. And yet, over the last decade the incomes of most Americans have actually fallen by 6 percent. If you’re reelected president, what do you propose to do about this trend?

    Governor Romney: Your mathematics has been attacked by those who say it’s impossible to provide the tax cut you propose; expand the military, as you want to do; preserve Medicare and Social Security, as you promise to do; and at the same time balance the federal budget, as you say you’ll do. Can you take us through the math, please, with specific numbers?

    President Obama: You have called for equal marriage rights for gay Americans. If you’re reelected, will you support repeal of the Defense of Marriage Act?

    Governor Romney: You support states’ rights, and don’t support wealth redistribution. Yet as you know, the citizens of most so-called “blue” states — notably California, New York, and Massachusetts — send more federal tax revenue to Washington than they receive back from Washington, while most of the citizens of “red” states send less tax revenue to Washington than their citizens receive back. Would you, as president, seek to end this subsidy of red states by blue states?

    President Obama: In the 2008 campaign you and your opponent, Senator McCain, both supported some version of a “cap and trade” system for limiting emissions of carbon into the atmosphere. During the last four years, evidence has mounted that climate change may be doing irreversible damage to the planet. If you are reelected, will you push for a “cap and trade” system, or a carbon tax, or both?

    Governor Romney: America has had some very wealthy men elected president. Your wealth is estimated to be more than a quarter of a billion dollars. The wealthy men elected president — a Republican, Teddy Roosevelt; Franklin D. Roosevelt; and John F. Kennedy — all fought for equal opportunity, reduced the power of large corporations and Wall Street, and gave average working Americans more economic security. Do you share these objectives, and, if you’re elected president, what will you do to achieve them? Please be specific.

    President Obama: TARP authorized not only a bailout of Wall Street banks but help to distressed homeowners. You chose not to condition the bailout of Wall Street on the banks reducing the amount people owed on their mortgages. hindsight, do you think that was a mistake? A follow up question, if I may: It is estimated that one in five American families is still underwater — owing more on their home mortgages than their homes are worth. So far your efforts to help them have fallen far short of the goals you set. If you are reelected, what specific measures will you initiate do more for these families?

    Governor Romney: You have campaigned as a “businessman” who has the managerial experience to turn the economy around. Yet some say you’ve run one of the worst campaigns in recent memory — filled with gaffes, misstatements, poor timing, Clint Eastwood, and much else. Conservative columnist Peggy Noonan, for example, calls your campaign a “calamity.” Should Americans be concerned about your management abilities?

    President Obama: You faced a particularly truculent Republican congress. But some say you didn’t fight Republicans hard enough during your first term, that you often began negotiations with compromises, and you didn’t use the full powers of your office to get more of what you wanted. Do you think there’s any validity to this criticism and, if so, what will you do differently in your second term?”

  5. Gene H:

    when employers provide health insurance, the employee still pays for it by out of pocket and lost wages. Plus most of the time they are forced to accept the plan and provider the employer provides.

    Makes sense though since women are nurturers.

  6. Tangentially related:

    Women think differently — even in the ‘dismal science’

    “By Allison Linn, TODAY

    Economics is becoming less of a man’s world, and new research implies that as more women enter the profession that could lead to changes in economic policy.

    ‘Without a doubt it will change policy,’ said Ann Mari May, an economics professor at University of Nebraska in Lincoln and one of the study’s authors.

    May and her co-authors surveyed hundreds of members of the American Economic Association for the study, which is due to be released in an upcoming issue of the journal Contemporary Economic Policy.

    What they found was surprising: Despite similar training and background in economic principles, male and female economists tended to hold sharply different views about some of the biggest and most hotly debated economic issues.

    For example, female economists were more likely to say employers should provide health insurance and that income distribution should be more equal. They also were more likely to disagree with the use of educational vouchers.

    Women also were far more likely to conclude that job opportunities for men and women are not equal, and that specifically the economic profession favors men over women.

    ‘We were a little surprised to see that there were these striking differences,’ May said.”

  7. 70 Percent Of Wall Street Journal Romney Adviser Op-Eds Lacked Disclosure

    In 70 percent of op-eds written by Mitt Romney advisers, The Wall Street Journal failed to disclose the writer’s connections to the Romney campaign, according to a Media Matters study. The Journal has published 23 op-eds in which a writer’s Romney ties were not identified, and just 10 in which they were.

    The Journal published a total of 23 op-eds from the following Romney advisers without disclosing their campaign ties: John Bolton; Max Boot; Lee A. Casey; Paula Dobriansky; Mary Ann Glendon; Glenn Hubbard; Michael Mukasey; Paul E. Peterson; David B. Rivkin Jr.; and Martin West.

    The Journal published a total of 10 op-eds from the following Romney advisers and disclosed their campaign ties: John Bolton; Martin Feldstein; Glenn Hubbard; William Kilberg; John Lehman; and Dan Senor.

    In the case of John Bolton, the Journal disclosed he was advising Romney in an initial op-ed but failed to do so in subsequent op-eds. With regard to Hubbard, the paper failed to disclose his campaign ties in an initial op-ed but did do so in later pieces.

    Editorial page editors from across the country have criticized the Journal for a lack of transparency in its editorial pages, and several media outlets have noted their failure to disclose.

  8. Dave,

    You read wrong. Don’t feel bad though. A lot of Libertarians have that problem when it comes to law and history. If you disagree with the precedent, you always have the option to challenge the validity of the law in court, but in the jurisprudential lineage of the General Welfare Clause, you are fighting and uphill an ultimately losing battle arguing the Madisonian narrow interpretation. The case law surrounding the issue is based on sound legal principle and logic. The decisions have stood as precedent for so long because no one has been able for formulate a challenge with a reasonable chance of presenting a countervailing argument to merit reversal of the Hamilitonian interpretation. The same cannot be said of the jurisprudence leading up to Citizens United (starting with Buckley). The precedent surround those cases are based on poor legal logic and reasoning.

  9. So Gene if I read you correctly then, the Constitution was merely reinterpreted by Satatist’s? To allow virtually unchecked power? Wasn’t that kind of my point?

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