Tuesday, September 16, 2008

Dilbert, the economy, the election and you

For those of you not familiar, Scott Adams is the creator of Dilbert, the widely read comic strip about the absurdities of life inside and outside the cubicalized modern world.

He also blogs regularly.

Lately, in his largely fruitless attempts to make sense of the current political situation (I'm not implying blame her, I just recognize that finding a rational response to the absurd may well be a hopeless endeavor) Mr. Adams decided to finance a survey of economists. His goal: to see which presidential candidate's economic plans make the most sense (at least to economists).

Says Adams, “I found myself wishing someone would give voters useful and unbiased information about which candidate has the best plans for the economy. Then I realized that I am someone, which is both inconvenient and expensive.”

At considerable personal expense, Adams commissioned a survey of over 500 economists, drawn from a subset of the members of the American Economic Association, a non-political group, some of whose members had agreed in advance to be surveyed on economic questions.

Obama supporters will be pleased to find that their candidate gets the nod, though McCainiacs will protest that the results are skewed because, as it happens, most economists are Democrats.

Most important (if this can be called important) is that those all important independents also generally favor Obama's economics.

As to what this all means, Mr. Adams:

“If an economist uses a complicated model to predict just about anything, you can ignore it. By analogy, a doctor can’t tell you the exact date of your death in 50 years. But if a doctor tells you to eat less and exercise more, that’s good advice even if you later get hit by a bus. Along those same lines, economists can give useful general advice on the economy, even if you know there will be surprises. Still, be skeptical.”

Detailed survey data here.

CNN article here.

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