Friday, January 16, 2009

Economic Ignorance: An American Problem

According to this story about a survey of Americans, the following facts have been gleaned:

"Four out of five Americans think debt — government and personal — is ruining the nation's economy, and half feel the bailouts and billions of dollars in government spending to stop the economy's decline has the country drifting away from capitalism and heading toward socialism.

A FOX News poll released Thursday shows large majorities of Democrats (78 percent), Republicans (82 percent) and independents (80 percent) think debt is ruining the economy."

Thus reads the opening two paragraphs of the article. I was pleased to read that overwhelming majorities of each major political category have the good sense to realize that debt, in a word, is bad.

A couple paragraphs later, we read:

"In a speech last week President-elect Barack Obama said "only government" can provide the short-term boost necessary to lift the country out of the current recession. The poll finds many Americans disagree. Voters are more than twice as likely to say the most effective way to help the economy out of recession is spending by individuals and businesses (52 percent) rather than government spending (19 percent)." [Emphasis mine]
Again, I found this encouraging. I read this next paragraph, and my spirits began to sink:

"When asked specifically about Obama's proposed economic recovery plan a 58 percent majority says they support it. Majorities of Democrats (79 percent) and independents (60 percent) say they support Obama's new plan, and a slim majority of Republicans (52 percent) oppose it." [Emphasis mine]

Put together, we see the following fact: Although a majority of people realize that debt is bad and that government spending is not the sure road out of economic hard times, a majority of people support debt and government spending to get America out of economic hard times. Even, I am ashamed to say, many Republicans.

Read that again if necessary. This is the logical equivalent of saying, "I know leeches won't heal my blood disease, but go ahead and bring them on anyway." There was a day when that error was practiced, but it has been debunked; leeches are no longer part of medical practice.

On the other hand, there is a mountain of evidence debunking the "government must spend into debt so that the economy will become healthy" theory, so why are Obama and many in Congress practicing it? Why aren't they embracing and encouraging other, wiser ideas?

More to the point of this entry, why are some of the American people embracing the abomination of a "stimulus package" that is about to come steamrolling out of Congress? Some ideas that crossed my mind:

  • These Americans are only looking out for themselves, and perceive that there is something in the stimulus bill that will help them and/or give them an advantage over others.
  • These Americans lack basic understanding of economics.
  • These Americans are, in a word, stupid.
The quick conclusions from this list are that these Americans are either greedy, ignorant, and/or foolish. This is not encouraging from a sociological, spiritual, or practical point of view.

We need to do what we can to spread the word to everyone that there is a better way. Unrestrained, inefficient government spending is not the answer. And neither are greed, ignorance, and foolishness.

1 comment:

michelles2cents said...

so so true. i remain astounded at the christians who seem to be totally blind to the facts surrounding them concerning our new president. its really sad to see so many people that you care about just lulled into such a zombie state of mind as to believe this man is the answer to their prayers.