Wednesday, July 18, 2007

Polling Economists

I've read a few of these, but they've been in (closed -- of course) scientific journals, so I couldn't exactly link to them for discussion. This one is pretty basic, with a very small sample size of 81.

Notice that a fairly significant portion (40-45%) is consistently liberal -- that's not uncommon among academic economists. Universal healthcare in the US receives an agreement of 44.7%, with 15.7% neutral. Most of these economists are probably thinking of the conventional single-payer system rather than a government-funded HSA system, as I've discussed here and which Adam Rawlings describeshere, because the idea of a government-funded HSA + a high-deductible health insurance and coverage for the chronically ill hasn't caught fire with too many economists yet. It also gets a bad rap because conservatives are trying to spin it as a solution without government subsidy, which probably won't work.

Things which receive Doomsday attention like the Social Security crisis among the media have a simple solution among economists: 77.2% would simply raise the retirement age.

35.7% of economists also opposed Bush's proposal to partly change Social Security into a mandated retirement account which is invested in the market. Some of that may be attributed to the wording of the statement which says that "the best way to deal with the Social Security long-term funding gap is mandatory personal accounts." There's no way that it is a solution to the funding gap. In the long-run it would be beneficial, but in the short-run it would cause a budget shortfall which would have to covered by the youth. It runs the risk of giving idiots too much freedom, I suppose, and those idiots who lost all their money would have to be covered by the government -- but it could be run like a state pension system, which allows you to invest in certain areas (smallcap, growth, value) but doesn't allow you to pick individual stocks on your own.

Anyway, check it out and check out some of the other Berkeley Electronic press articles as well -- they are fairly open access.

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