Saturday, October 4, 2008

Top Economists Overwhelmingly Favor Obama Plan: 80% Say He Has Better Grasp of Economics

The Economist magazine surveyed members of the prestigious National Bureau of Economic Research (NBER) and responders overwhelmingly think Obama far surpasses McCain in his grasp of economics and think Obama's plan is superior. (h/t to Freakonomics). These numbers are truly staggering! Sorry Marty! (former head of NBER and McCain supporter)

As with the Scott Adams poll, economists overwhelmingly choose to self-identify as Democrats and support Obama. This is no fluke and NBER is the cream of the crop.

(By the way, apparently the Economist is one of Palin's faves!)

UPDATE: (Don Pedro) Thanks to Lerxst for posting this while I was out canvassing in Virginia! I've taken the liberty of changing the title. I also want to highlight key excerpts from the Economist writeup:

Even among Republicans Mr Obama has the edge: 46% versus 23% say Mr Obama has the better grasp of the subject. “I take McCain’s word on this one,” comments James Harrigan at the University of Virginia ..

“John McCain has professed disdain for ‘so-called economists’, and for some the feeling has become mutual,” says Erik Brynjolfsson, a professor at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology Sloan School of Management. “Obama’s team is mainstream and non-ideological but extremely talented.”

Mr Obama, says Jonathan Parker, a non-aligned professor at Northwestern’s Kellogg School of Management, “is a pragmatist not an ideologue. I expect Clintonian economic policies.”

Twice as many economists think Mr McCain’s plan would be bad or very bad for long-run growth as Mr Obama’s. Given how much focus Mr McCain has put on his plan’s benefits for growth, this last is quite a repudiation.


Anonymous said...


I don't know how smart it was for them to respond to that poll. All we need is for them to (accurately) declare that the recession began around the start of this year (if not even late last year, really) & do so before Nov. 4. I can just hear the wingnuts chanting that NBER is somehow "in the pocket for Obama."

Anonymous said...

I doubt that they will make a call before the election. (If I get a chance I'll check on when they typically meet.)

I believe that the economists on the dating committee are probably centrists or conservative...have to check on this too...I know Bob Hall of Stanford is probably one key member.

Richard H. Serlin said...

Here's an idea: Assuming Obama wins, I think a good way to move to greatly improve health care, in addition to Obama's other measures, that can be positioned in a politically strong way, is just to lower the age of eligibility for Medicare. People really have a hard time when they're older and much more expensive to insure, but not yet old enough for Medicare.

Really, we might be able to get through, in addition to other measures, a lowering of the age for Medicare to 55, or even 50. This might be an extremely popular idea -- especially among those age 50-65, a group which votes very heavily. It would tremendously increase peoples' access to health care and financial security.

Of course, I do think if Obama is willing to expend the political capital to really push for it, as I think is well worth doing, we can pass a true universal health insurance/care plan. Such a bill might be structurable so that it only needs 50 votes in the senate, as discussed in Jonathan Chait's recent book, and my blog post here:

Richard H. Serlin said...

And this could be paid for by an increase in the Medicare payroll tax for income above $250,000/year. It could be very popular proposal, as well as an obviously very good one for the country.

Anonymous said...

I don't know if any of you (or your families) have had personal experience with MediCare/Caid...but from in my family:
- My grandmother last week had to have a test done after she had a minor stroke. The bill for the test was $1,700.00.

MediCare paid a whopping $170.00.
Bush's aid to seniors paid 10% of what MediCare paid ($17.00).

My grandmother is stuck with a bill over $1,500.00.

It's amazing to me how in the UK (where I've lived and received care free of charge, and all prescriptions are under $10 for everyone), we aren't charged much more tax than we were in the US.

How is this possible? And what's the opposition, really?