7/02/2004

The Bad Economist

At the beginning of the semester I thought economists were people who used only factual information to construct charts and graphs, in order to help organizations make wise economical decisions. The thought never really occurred to me that some of these economists were giving us false information, and skewing the results of the subject matter, with the purpose of causing us to take their side on a given issue. Bad economists don’t always lie, but they are very skilled at giving us partial truths. In other words, they may give us information that is entirely correct, but it only focuses on one minute detail of the bigger picture. This forces us to draw false conclusions and panic over what we believe to be immediate threats, instead of seeing the whole picture and realizing what they are leading us to believe is not true. These unbridled extrapolations are used all the time by people who want to persuade us.

Bad economists (many of whom work for the government in my opinion) would have us believe that when the government spends money on something, we are all enriched by the purchase. They would have us believe that spending $15 million on a new building would make us that much wealthier. Could this be true? When the government spends money on something that costs $15 million, it means that we just went in debt $15 million. The government doesn’t want us to consider the fact that maybe we would have rather spent that money on something else. Every time they spend money, it is taken right out of our pockets, and most of the time it is spent on things we do not want. Even though they may try to convince us that it’s free because the government paid for it, the fact is, you can never get something for nothing. The government should spend money on important and necessary things like a public education and a national defense. All those things are important for us to prosper as a nation, but I believe that the government is often very careless and overspends our money.

3 comments:

Kid said...

The government can’t be considered a “bad economist” because the people that are running it have probably had as much economics as we have. A possible solution to this problem might be to have all Government officials go back to school and take more economic classes. Would that be a worth while expense for us as a Nation? Would it help decrease the governments spending?
Increasing the knowledge of those we put in office might help in making our economy stronger. Could it be possible though, that they actually know what they are doing? The government wants to stay a strong, powerful nation and they do that by having high GDP. GDP is the measure of the market; thus by spending millions of dollars on constructing big building we might not need causes our nations GDP to go up. I could be way out in left field and I’m sure Dr. Tufte will let me know. It’s just a thought.

Kid said...
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Anonymous said...

"A possible solution to this problem might be to have all Government officials go back to school and take more economic classes."

At least one on public choice theory, that would be great.