According to the latest polls, the economy is the biggest issue for voters. So I ask myself which candidate for president has the most support from economists. And my answer is...um...I don't know.

Now here's the interesting part about that particular piece of ignorance: I follow the news more than most people. So why don't I know the answer to the most important question in this election?

I know all about lapel pins and fist pumps and gaffes and ministers. I have a pretty good idea where the candidates are on most irrelevant issues. But I don't know if independent economists have a consensus on who would be the best president, economy-wise.

The best I could find on the Internet in a quick search was a list of (presumably) Democrat economists supporting Obama and a list of (presumably) Republican economists supporting McCain. Does that really tell me anything?

Obama Economists


McCain Economists


Do you know whose side most independent economists are on, or do you pretend you have that sort of expertise yourself?

I expect some people will leave comments to this post along the lines of "It is obvious that (one of the candidates) has the best economic policy because he will do (whatever) and the other guy won't!" Unfortunately, economics is not common sense. It's a mix of science, calculus, chaos, expectations, and voodoo. In other words, if you think you understand economics, that's proof that you don't.

Here's the question of the day: Who do you think would be the best president for improving the economy, and what makes you an expert on economics?

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Jun 18, 2008
Not claiming to be an expert. However, the trick to understanding economy on a basic level is to disregard money. Money is quite a distraction. You have to look at goods and services- how much is being produced, by who, and where is it going. Money is just a symbol. If you hear an economist obsessing over currencies and not talking about real things, then it really does seem like voodoo.
Jun 18, 2008
Here's a link:


It's an overview of the two candidates' plans from a general economist's view. The verdict: Obama's plans are better for most people, McCain's are better for rich people.
Jun 18, 2008
At this point of the game (8 years of Bush), Obama is the best for improving my personal economy. After all there is no other economy other than mine.

I made money off Bush in the early days then bailed before his economy bailed on me. As Obama repairs the last four years of damage, I will make money off him. This too will shift at which point I will also shift my monies.

That's what makes me an expert, I manage to stay ahead of the presidents financial mistakes.
Jun 18, 2008
The only reason we have "expert" economists is that people want to fool themselves into thinking that someone knows what is going on. Take a hard look at the data; when predicting what will happen with the economy, the experts do no better than random chance. It's a scam on the scale of fortune tellers and psychics (another couple of examples of fooling ourselves into thinking that someone knows what is going on, by the way). The only difference is the channel and the time of day that they are shown.

Here's a good place to start:
Jun 18, 2008
If you laid all economists in the world end to end, they wouldn't reach a conclusion. Don't know who first said that, but it comes to mind now.
-3 Rank Up Rank Down
Jun 18, 2008
The amazing Kreskin
+3 Rank Up Rank Down
Jun 18, 2008
I'm an expert on politics because I've got this theory. When the economic is growing and things are looking good, Americans vote republican. When the economy is in stagnation or worse, people vote democratic (in other countries too). I haven't tested my theory properly, but looking at the economy Obama will win this thing easily.
+5 Rank Up Rank Down
Jun 18, 2008
Not being American, I have even less idea who would be best.

What I do know is that, whoever wins, when the economy goes !$%*!$%* the president will either blame the previous administration, or state that it is factors beyond his control. The opposition will say it's his fault.

In Britain, when Gordon Brown was Chancellor of the Exchequer (minister in charge of government finance and the economy) he spent years taking credit for the stable economy that he inherited from the previous administration. Now it's going !$%*!$% he can't blame the previous administration (since he was in charge of it), so he's opting for the "beyond my control" arguement.

I don't believe either story. When things were going well it was a combination of inheriting a good situation, and (more importantly) a global good situation that had nothing to do with him. However, since he used the good times to increase spending, increase tax, increase government borrowing, and encourage the population to increase personal borrowing massively (rather than repaying the national debt and putting some money aside), now the faeces is flying from the fan there is no slack in the system to cope with it. I'd agree with the "beyond my control" statement, as there's not much he can do about it now, but that doesn't make it not his fault.

Oh, and to answer one of Scott's questions, what qualifies me to spout my views? Not much, honestly, beyond being pretty intuative at Maths, making a point of reading the news from the (apparently) more impartial sources available, and draw my own conclusions. I've never studied economics.
+1 Rank Up Rank Down
Jun 18, 2008
It would seem to me, if you are an independent economist, and you decide to favor Obama, you become an Obama economist. Likewise for McCain. It would seem, therefore, that whoever has the most economists wins.
Jun 18, 2008
Good economics is about being able to adapt your viewpoint in light of new information. However voters seem to vote for the guy who has a singular entrenched worldview - I guess they like their leaders to appear strong and certain. Hmmmm, it seems like I'm saying that in general you should vote for a weak guy no-one thinks has a hope.
Jun 18, 2008
Clearly Obama would be better for the economy because he's a better person and McCain is a right wing republican. Why am I an expert on economics? I did macroeconomics 1 and prices and markets 1 in uni and got a high distinction for both. I don't need any more education on the subject. The rest is opinion.
-4 Rank Up Rank Down
Jun 17, 2008
Bob Barr has the best plan for the economy.

His plan can best be summed up as "McCain and Obama support ethanol and are against drilling in anwar so their plans are wrong."

I don't have to be an expert on economics to see that ethanol is a problem and Anwar is a good idea. The problem is that the American educational system has been slowly degraded by teachers' unions fighting to keep incompetent teachers "teaching." Now, after decades and decades of this, the American people are voting in idiots that believe the same crap they do.

Let's be honest, if it wasn't for Hitler, how many Americans would know where Europe is?

If I had to choose between the ones that will win, I'd pick Obama. This is because no matter who wins, they're going to screw up the economy. And the idiot American people are going to blame the party of that candidate and two years from now will vote the other party into congress. If Obama wins, after two years of economic hell, the American people will vote back in the Republicans, who in congress, have a much better economic track record than, say, the Democrats.

So I say Obama so in two years the Republicans have congress again.
Jun 17, 2008
As somebody said, "If you spend thirteen minutes a year thinking about economics (read economists), you've wasted ten minutes."
Jun 17, 2008
At least now you've figured out that there are democrat economists and republican economists. Once politics is involved, you just can't trust the experts to be experts any more. It's the same way with science and global warming. And anything anybody tells you about the war on terrorism.
Jun 17, 2008
*A particular sentence from the article made me dizzy...this completed the circle of discombobulation (i always wanted to use that word):
"Wall Street may like McCain but it is betting on the Democratic senator from Illinois."
Jun 17, 2008
Economists at Reuters summit tipped towards McCain:


A particular sentence from the article made me completed the circle of discombobulation (i always wanted to use that word):
"Wall Street may like McCain but it is betting on the Democratic senator from Illinois."
+4 Rank Up Rank Down
Jun 17, 2008
Obama has executive style hair. We think it will turn silver.
Jun 17, 2008
You test economists with the question, ``If everybody stands on their toes, can everybody see better?''

The ones that say yes, you ignore.

That leaves the Republican economists.
Jun 17, 2008
The question I must ask: is economics a science? Doesn't the definition of science imply the use of the scientific method as well as fallibility? How can you devise controlled experiments in economics? How can you prove economic theories false?
Jun 17, 2008
If I'm not smart enough to understand economics, which is what you essentially said, then what makes you think some !$%*!$%* in a suit will understand it?

What I understand (or assume) about economics is that the president cannot control or influence it. It's just impossible, because it is so big.

No one for President 2008!
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