Economists think what?!

Posted: 23 August 2012 in Uncategorized
Tags: , , , , ,

I just got through explaining to students that statements like “this is what economists think” and “this is how economics is done” make no sense. And then along comes Eduardo Porter asserting that “A vast majority of economists agree that restoring a sustainable budget will mean either cuts in Medicare and Medicaid or a tax increase on the middle class.”

What I told the students is that, because economics is a field defined by many contending theories and methods, there is no single thing we can call economics. It’s not a science but a set of different and incommensurable sciences, if you prefer.

All Porter can assert is that a vast majority—70 percent—of the economists who are part of the University of Chicago’s Booth School of Business Initiative on Global Markets agree that “long run sustainability in the U.S. will require cuts in currently promised Medicate and Medicaid benefits and/or tax increases that include higher taxes on households with incomes below $250,000.”

That is all. The rest of us are not represented in that panel, and many of us (but I have no idea how many) do not agree with that statement.

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