(Originally Posted at Indiana Economics.)
After a 65 million dollar payoff to the University of Maryland, a study comes out claiming that those who disagree with pronouncements of the Ministry of Truth are misinformed. The “Ministry of Truth” in this case includes economists and other experts who work for the government. Those who could not predict, regulate away, or fix the economy are now the sole dispensers of truth while those who disagree are “misinformed.”
One question asked was: “Do you think the Economy is getting better?” The correct answer was, of course, “yes.” Unfortunately for many Fox News viewers, they did not toe the line in accordance with the ordained word of the Department of Commerce. Why would the government ever have the incentive to lie? If WikiLeaks haven’t taught us a lesson I don’t think anything will. Only non-government class proles are allowed to look at the leaks while those funded by the lie are blocked from seeing it and threatened with prosecution if they do. But back to the survey!
Want to hear an epistemology that’d make Ayn Rand come back from the dead and kill Nathaniel Branden for undermining her follower’s deification of her ideas and therefore her cynicism of government funded research institutions? Under a heading entitled “A Note on the Question of What is ‘True’”:
On a regular basis government economists come to conclusions about the state of the economy. Such conclusions influence key decisions in the private sphere, as well as government decisions. Such government economists should be, and generally are, open to input from experts outside of government in the course of coming to conclusions.
In the course of this study, to identify “misinformation” among voters, we used as reference points the conclusions of key government agencies that are run by professional experts and have a strongreputation for being immune to partisan influences. These include the Congressional Budget Office, the Department of Commerce, and the National Academy of Sciences. We also noted efforts to survey elite opinion, such as the regular survey of economists conducted by the Wall Street Journal; however, we only used this as supporting evidence for what constitutes expert opinion.
All it took was 65 million dollars in stimulus money to pay these people off. Gee, if only academics in Nazi Germany only relied on their government a little more for regular dispensations of truth then World War 2 wouldn’t have occurred.
Most economists I read think that stimulus legislation will deplete wealth here in the United States and ultimately reduce the amount of people who would otherwise have jobs. Most economists I read come from the Austrian perspective. None of them are government soothsayers working in the Congressional Budget Office. According to this “study,” only those economist matter and therefore any disagreement results in the disagreeable person to be labeled as “misinformed.”
“Is it your impression that most economists who have studied it estimate that the stimulus legislation: a) Saved or created millions of jobs [correct] 8%, Saved or created a few jobs 60%, Caused job losses 20%.”
Is it so hard to believe that regular people don’t read the deified writings of the Congressional Budget Office (CBO)? Maybe they read one of the 200 economists who took out a full page add in the New York Times to chastise the stimulus spending. This list includes Nobel Prize winning economists. Never mind attempting to take an actual survey, which I would then leave me with less room for criticism, just take the Congressional Budget Office’s word for it.
The CBO uttered that the new healthcare bill would decrease deficits and so it came to be known as truth. Again, we have the same situation. People were asked about their opinion of what they thought economists thought about the issue. Only government hired economists were considered and even then no consideration was given to the diversity of their opinions.
The study continues on and on, taking everything said by members of the government at face value. Sure, people can get a few laughs here and there about the “misinformed” nature of Fox News viewers, but dutifully regurgitating this study as if it were fact reveals something quite significant about people.