LDP press release #1

I hope all my readers consider voting for the Liberal Democrats in a few weeks, at least in the Senate where we can do a lot of good. I will be posting the LDP’s press releases here because I’m fairly certain the mainstream media is going to ignore them.

Greens and Labor both economic illiterates

Issued 3 August 2010

The Liberal Democrats believe the Greens and Labor are both economic illiterates and not fit to govern. Elements in the Liberal and National parties are not much better.

A recently completed survey shows that those self-identifying as progressives or moderates are far less economically literate than those identifying as conservatives or libertarians.

On a simple 8 question test, progressives on average scored only 34% answers correct while moderates scored marginally better at 41%. In contrast, conservatives or libertarians scored between 79% and 82% on average.

For example, only 7.5% of progressives were correct in understanding that minimum wage laws increase unemployment, whereas 88.7% of conservatives correctly answered this question.

On average, progressives incorrectly answered questions on rent controls, housing restrictions and free trade. Indeed a startling 61% of progressives believed our standard of living was higher 30 years ago than today.

“This casts serious doubt on the ability of the so-called ‘progressive elites’ who dominate Labor and the Greens, and are significantly represented in the Liberals, to make sound economic decisions about Australia’s future,” said WA Senate candidate Mark Walmsley.

“The likely result of them implementing their policies is higher unemployment, higher housing costs, and a lower standard of living for the lower socio-economic groups the progressives are trying to help.”

The study was based on a 2008 survey of 4,737 individuals conducted in the US and replicated on a smaller scale in Australia. On average 91% of Australian liberals or libertarians answered questions correctly.

“What was surprising was that the level of education did not affect results. High school-educated conservatives were far more knowledgeable on real-world economic matters than university-educated progressives,” Mr Walmsley said.

“This result goes a long way to explaining the ludicrous economic policies of the Greens and Labor, which are progressive/moderate parties. These parties lack the fundamental economic knowledge to govern and have much higher potential to seriously damage the Australian economy.”

“Examples of unsound policies include the wasteful BER and insulation programs, the CPRS, and the massive increase in government debt.”

“By undermining our economy, progressive policies undermine our current high living standards. High living standards require a strong economy, and sensible use of our wealth. Pursuing uneconomic pet projects for political purposes squanders our wealth and therefore our future prosperity.

“The Liberal Democrats are Australia’s only party advocating lower taxes and free trade whilst being staunchly committed to civil liberties and individual freedom for all Australians,” Mr Walmsley said.

The full survey is entitled “Economic Enlightenment in Relation to College-going, Ideology, and Other Variables: A Zogby Survey of Americans” by Zeljka Buturovic1 and Daniel B. Klein. It is found at http://econjwatch.org/file_download/432/ButurovicKleinMay2010.pdf

Website
http://www.ldp.org.au/
info@ldp.org.au

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25 Responses to LDP press release #1

  1. john walker says:

    Jarrah
    “Examples of unsound policies include the wasteful BER and insulation programs, ”
    Surely the problem with these schemes was that they were done way too fast; The real intention was really to make-work and to deliberately create inflation so as to reduce real asset values in a way that would not cause panic.
    School buildings and better insulation are a common good, its just that you cant suddenly increase demand without creating a few problems.

    With respect- ‘the massive increase in government debt.’ is a bit over egged.

    I am a liberal who live in the country. When it comes to economics there is nothing quite like a agrarian socialist.
    When talking amongst themselves the labor/green , arts luvies, cant help but go all gooey about the days when the deputy PM was a National. The first labor government of australia was the result of the Conservatives preferring a Labor government to government by the free market Liberal party.

  2. Jarrah, I assume by posting this release and advocating we vote for the LDP, you’re signalling openness to defending its content.

    “For example, only 7.5% of progressives were correct in understanding that minimum wage laws increase unemployment, whereas 88.7% of conservatives correctly answered this question.”

    On the whole I’m starting to come around to supporting abolition of a minimum wage (in concert with other policies like a negative income tax.) And its true many self-labelled progressives have little to no understanding of economics.

    But it is not yet clear cut, on the basis of either empirical evidence or non-naieve models of the labour market, that minimum wages cause much or any unemployment.

    And its absurdly illogical to attack a party on the ignorance of their alleged voter base, instead of their actual leadership or policy platform.

    “The study was based on a 2008 survey of 4,737 individuals conducted in the US and replicated on a smaller scale in Australia. On average 91% of Australian liberals or libertarians answered questions correctly.”

    Replicated on a smaller scale? How much smaller?

    How many Australians who are “classic liberals” would self describe as such, given modern Australian usage of the term in light of its long association with the Liberal Party? How many Australians in an unbiased small sample would have even the vaguest conception of what a thoroughly American (and even then, still niche) term “libertarian” means?

    What if I self-describe myself as an “in-principle social democrat pragmatically liberal democrat leaning voter”, and as the sole person in this new category answer the dubious, simplistic economic pop quiz 100% correctly? That’s even better than 91%! Does this mean if I found a party, everyone should vote for it?

    Overall this survey sounds likely to be a complete wash of framing, sample and other biases. Its hardly the stuff a party trying to appeal to the numerate portion of electorate should feel comfortable making the central basis of a campaign press release.

    “Examples of unsound policies include the wasteful BER and insulation programs”

    Fair enough, economic liberals should be expected to view Keynesian stimulus as wasteful.

    “the CPRS”

    Now we’re in more dangerous territory. Is the CPRS wasteful because:

    a) GW isn’t real
    b) GW is real but isn’t Anthropogenic
    c) AGW is real but not serious enough to justify the proposed measures
    d) AGW is real but it’d be cheaper to geo-engineer than to cut emissions
    e) A carbon price is in principle a good idea but the presented version was flawed
    f) Taxes are inherently wasteful

    I’d love to believe the LDP’s opposition is based on some mixture of c, d and e; but you see there’s all these self-described libertarians/”liberals” running around on the Internet who seem to think that just because they have high IQs, they know more about the Scientific Method than scientists; and they often espouse some confused mixture of a, b and f. So you know, since we’re now in the business of judging parties by dubious data on the kinds of people we suspect vote for them, I have to conclude the LDP is run by idiots and can’t be trusted with my vote.

  3. Jarrah says:

    I agree the survey is methodologically suspect, but when a party’s economic policies are self-evidently silly, you can forgive someone trying to find out why that is. The lack of knowledge about economics in the party base is a reasonable factor to consider, even if the way this was established in this particular instance isn’t rigorous.

    “I’d love to believe the LDP’s opposition is based on some mixture of c, d and e;”

    Luckily for you, that is exactly what it’s based on. There’s a tiny fringe that believes a and b, but LDP policies are explicitly derived from c, d and e (with a bit of f thrown in – we are a low-tax party after all).

    And no offence, but a self-described “in-principle social democrat” is not our demographic, so I’m not so worried about your vote. :-)

  4. “Luckily for you, that is exactly what it’s based on.”

    Yeah, I suspected as much; I was mainly just being snide.

    c) I’ve never bought this because argument because first, my utility function puts some weight on Westerners not wilfully taking actions that will kill Bangladeshis regardless of it not doing much noticeable economic damage, and second, with respect to global GDP I’m sufficiently volatility and risk averse to want to hedge against climate change even though I suspect carbon prices now may be a slight net loss to the expected value of growth.

    d) Geo-engineering is extremely worrying for its whole own set of reasons, but I’m increasingly viewing it as an inevitable necessity given our global political systems are clearly not up to dealing with the task via public policy; and besides technology is as usual going to progress regardless of whether we like the consequences, and we’ll just have to keep trusting people won’t screw things up too badly with the increased leverage over the universe it gives us.

    e) I’d suspect I’d disagree with liberals quite often about whether, when confronting a public policy major problem, no legislation is preferable than flawed legislation. At least, unlike in the case of the Greens, its intellectually coherent for you to take such a stance.

    f) If there really is some of this view influencing the party’s policy, I’d find it highly concerning; how else do externalities get corrected, and commons preserved, if not by government action to create and maintain systems of property rights? Would the LDP oppose governments auctioning off leases to the wireless spectrum, or access to fishing grounds, or real estate on the moon, on the same principle? Is it a party of liberals, or of anarchists?

    “And no offence, but a self-described “in-principle social democrat” is not our demographic, so I’m not so worried about your vote.”

    You should be. The LDP is too niche a party to be neglecting the votes of people who believe strongly in free markets, free trade, free migration and reduced government regulation, even if it is on grounds that “these things work well in practice” than “these these are a priori the only morally justified way to have things.” Especially since we likely agree vehemently with respect to most or all civil liberties issues.

    Sure, I’ll always believe in higher rates of tax than you, because I think wealth is derived from a mixture of merit, luck, and taking advantage of intangible “commonwealth” like shared scientific knowledge, the rule of law, etc; given the latter two I think society has some claim on people’s stuff beyond what’s necessary to pay for courts and the army.

    If you’re actually just the party of “Lower taxes! Oh and gay marriage and drug decriminalisation and increased immigration and more free trade agreements and reduced development restrictions and dismantling captured regulators and strong free speech protections etc. would all be nice but only people who agree about the taxes thing should vote for us because that’s what we really care about when it comes down to it;”, well, fine, I won’t ever vote for you. Seems a bit of a shame, though.

  5. Splatterbottom says:

    I’ve been looking for someone to vote for this time, and the LDP seems to have some merit. I don’t like the major parties much, and the Greens have got Lee Rhiannon standing in NSW and are thus unpalatable to any sentient being. I share Jordan’s pragmatic view –we should look at what works rather than to pure theory. I think that history teaches us that tax is necessary for civilisation – societies that don’t tax don’t last long. It also teaches us that tax revenue needs to be at least sufficient for the maintenance of adequate defence forces and the preservation of public order.
    Australians seem to vote for the ALP to salve their social consciences, and when they have run up enough debt, they call in the Coalition to clean things up. When they get things under control, it is back to Labor. Labor under Gillrudd has created massive debt in record time.

  6. Jarrah says:

    Jordan and Splatter, the LDP doesn’t advocate the repeal of all taxes. We simply feel that the optimum level and composition has not been achieved. We attract some anarchists (our founder was one!), but the policies are clear – lower taxes to fund needed expenditure, not the plethora of middle-class welfare and pork-barrelling and sheer waste that characterises a great deal of government spending.

    Jordan, people who “believe strongly in free markets, free trade, free migration and reduced government regulation” and “agree vehemently [with me] with respect to most or all civil liberties issues” can’t really call themselves “in-principle social democrats”. Also, while I personally agree about reaching out to potential voters, the reality is that because our policies are often confronting to those used to LibLab centrism, when they disagree with one of those policies, they tend to disagree strongly and we lose their vote anyway. I’ve lost count of the small-l liberals who nod appreciatively when looking at our platform, then suddenly grimace in disgust at the gun policy or national parks policy or non-disavowal of nuclear power.

  7. “People … can’t really call themselves ‘in-principle social democrats'”

    Well I can, and do. I believe in the morality of redistributing wealth from the rich to the poor, and in society giving the disadvantaged more opportunity generally, so I don’t think I qualify as a classic liberal or libertarian, at least philosophically; on pragmatic grounds I happen to think best results are often achieved by efficient progressive taxes on free market activities, not ad-hoc rules that encourage rent-seeking, destroy incentives etc. I think the government should probably spend as much as it does now, but on fewer things.

    “I’ve lost count of the small-l liberals who nod appreciatively when looking at our platform, then suddenly grimace in disgust at the gun policy or national parks policy or non-disavowal of nuclear power.”

    I could probably support the LDP regardless of gun policy; I don’t attach much importance to the right to bear arms, but I think many factors other than ownership laws play a stronger causal role in gun violence problems. Besides, if it was good enough for Jefferson…

    I support nuclear power, or at least I’m far from convinced that the dangers outweigh the benefits in light of the problems with other currently available forms of energy.

    I don’t see where the National Parks policy is coming from other than the generalized anti-government sentiment. Upholding private property rights is not the same as reflexive opposition to any instances of non-privately held property.

    Like the Greens website, I find a cursory examination of http://www.ldp.org.au has a mixture of ideas I strongly support with ones I am heavily concerned with. So I lean towards the mediocrity of the major parties; our society is pretty good, which means I suspect has more potential to be wrecked by drastic negative political reforms than improved by drastic positive ones.

  8. Yobbo says:

    I believe in the morality of redistributing wealth from the rich to the poor

    Fuck off and die then dude, seriously. There is nothing moral about stealing.

    It is at best a necessary evil. Vote for the greens.

  9. “I believe in the morality of redistributing wealth from the rich to the poor

    Fuck off and die then dude, seriously. There is nothing moral about stealing.

    It is at best a necessary evil. Vote for the greens.”

    Yeah, see, this is my big problem with a lot of Libertarianism. This is pure framing; in fact really its question begging. I don’t call taxation theft, any more than I call copyright infringement theft or trespass theft; and I consider both the morality and the reality of all four kinds of “ignoring private property rights” to be completely different.

    But I write what I consider is a reasonably thoughtful statement of where I stand with respect to certain LDP policies, and some troll flames me, presumably because he thinks he’s smarter than me and I’m just an idiot. This kind of thing happens on every public forum on the net, of course; but the Libertarian subculture seems to be particularly full of arrogant, aggressive young men like Yobbo. Its the kind of thing that’s maybe funny while gaming, but just white noise, at best, if you’re trying to have intelligent political discourse. So while you can get a tonne out of reading intelligent libertarians, like Paul Graham or Alex Tabarrok, its often no use trying to have a civil discussion with most of the rank and file (not implying that about you Jarrah; on the contrary you seem like a remarkably civil blog host.)

    Or if I could put it in terms Yobbo might understand,

    Just because some fuckwit on 4chan posted a link to a free download of the Fountainhead and Ayn Rand gave you a hard-on, doesn’t mean you actually know jack shit about ethics. Go read a real philosopher like Russell or Popper and maybe you’ll realise that being the nerd who was smarter than everyone else in school doesn’t mean you’re actually right about anything, you socially maladjusted fool.

    P.S. Oh wow, I see from your blog Yobbo that you are actually an endorsed candidate for the LDP. Well, as if that didn’t confirm massively reinforce everything that makes me not want to vote for them.

  10. Jarrah says:

    “There is nothing moral about stealing.”

    Stealing is taking something that belongs to someone else. Jordan has already said that he can see problems with the assumptions behind “belongs to someone else”:

    I think wealth is derived from a mixture of merit, luck, and taking advantage of intangible “commonwealth” like shared scientific knowledge, the rule of law, etc; given the latter two I think society has some claim on people’s stuff beyond what’s necessary to pay for courts and the army.

    The LDP position is not that taxation is theft, but that taxation necessarily involves efficiency losses that raise the bar when it comes to assessing whether it is a good idea to tax, and therefore taxation should be minimised. See my previous post here for a simplistic (but still true) explanation. The problem with so many suggestions for taxing-and-spending is that the parties don’t consider these effects.

    There has also been a steady increase in the amount Australians pay in tax, without a commensurate increase in quantity or quality of services. Howard and Costello, for all their economic successes, were wedded to tax-and-spend. The ALP is worse. The Greens are off the scale. The LDP has a much more sensible approach.

  11. Yobbo says:

    Well, as if that didn’t confirm massively reinforce everything that makes me not want to vote for them.

    You weren’t going to vote for them anyway. You just came on here to waste Jarrah’s time.

    Jordan has already said that he can see problems with the assumptions behind “belongs to someone else”:

    So why bother debating him?

  12. Yobbo says:

    some troll flames me, presumably because he thinks he’s smarter than me and I’m just an idiot.

    No, I’m flaming you because you think you’re so important that you can come to the website of a political party and tell them that the premise underlying their main point of difference between the other parties in the election is wrong.

    If you believe that, good for you. But stop wasting our time with your nonsense because it’s not worth our time trying to debate socialists into libertarians any more so than it is worthwhile trying to polish a turd into a diamond.

  13. “No, I’m flaming you because you think you’re so important that you can come to the website of a political party and tell them that the premise underlying their main point of difference between the other parties in the election is wrong.”

    The website of a political party? What the hell are you smoking? This is the blog of some guy I found on the internet by following the link embedded in his comment on some other blog. I’m not trying to assert my own importance, and I’m not trying to tell anyone they’re wrong; I’m trying to engage Jarrah in a political discussion on a political blog by coming to the crux of where we might disagree about certain key issues. You’ll note that I openly called myself an “in principle social democrat” and only talked about wealth distribution by way of giving a context to why I choose this label.

    “If you believe that, good for you. But stop wasting our time with your nonsense because it’s not worth our time trying to debate socialists into libertarians any more so than it is worthwhile trying to polish a turd into a diamond.”

    If you think engaging me in a political debate is a waste of your time, kindly feel free to shut the fuck up. I was perfectly content discussing LDP policy with Jarrah who, unlike you, is not an asshole.

    Given that I spend a substantial amount of my time trying to explain the Laffer curve and deadweight losses and the futility of price ceilings to progressives, and arguing for vastly expanded immigration and relaxation of trade barriers, and the decriminalization of prostitution and recreational drugs, and trying to formulate my own version of a negative income tax to replace the farce that is Centrelink, and justifying U.S. first amendment level free level speech even if it means letting Westboro Baptist Church hold “God Hates Fags” rally’s near funerals, and explaining why Thomas Jefferson is my political hero, I’m not entirely at ease with being called a socialist turd.

    But in the end, what does it matter? If you, an actual candidate for the LDP, can manage to utterly alienate someone like me in the space of 3 sentences, good fucking luck getting anyone normal to ever vote for you. Maybe you should move to America where people really do love free markets and small government and the Libertarian Party is bound to usher in a glorious era of reason’s triumph over idiocy. Oh, wait, maybe not! Well, at least you can go to your grave with, I suppose, no votes, achieving zero societal change, but enjoying that warm fuzzy feeling that only your inherent superiority to the unwashed masses can give.

    Jarrah, I apologise to the extent that by reacting as I did, I have contributed to filling your blog comments with this tripe…. but I can only hope that maybe this exchange demonstrates to you and other sane heads within the party just how much people like Yobbo (and I’m guessing there are many of them) are complete and utter liabilities to the LDP. Maybe in a couple of elections time you’ll have enough people who can coherently argue for liberty without coming across as prize douchebags, and I will be able to vote for your party. Given the current state of Australian political affairs, I certainly hope so.

  14. Yobbo says:

    I’m not a candidate you idiot, that website is from the 2007 election.

    And as I’ve already said, nobody at the LDP cares about alienating you, because you quite clearly would never vote for a party that wants to reduce taxes anyway.

  15. Do I care if you’re a candidate now or at the immediately previous election? The point is you’re probably representative of the kind of person who gets elected if I and enough other people vote for the LDP. I could just see the media headlines if anyone actually paid attention to the likes of you: ‘LDP candidate tells undecided voter to “Fuck off and die – Taxation is Theft”‘ Which if Jarrah is right isn’t even actually your party’s stance, but you still seem happy to tell people not to vote for the LDP if they don’t agree with it! Maybe you’re actually a Commie who’s been sent to infiltrate the party to spread misinformation and actively drive away support.

    As it happens even though I believe in wealth distribution, I actively support cutting taxes to replace them with more efficient taxes that lead to higher productivity and so can be less burdensome at not cost to revenue, or by matching them with spending cuts on outrageously stupid shit like the War on Drugs or corporate subsidies or money for rainwater tanks or whatever.

    I “would never vote for a party” that proposes an idiotic Internet Filter, or wants to withdraw from Australia’s bilateral trade agreements, or suggests direct funding for a “Green army” instead of a Carbon tax. Except, I’m going to have to preference somebody first, aren’t I? The ALP and the Libs and the Greens win a lot of points by not treating me with utter contempt just when I don’t agree with them about every single thing.

    You don’t give a shit about my vote? You think discussions with non-libertarians are a priori a waste of time? Then you will never convince anyone of anything, except your arrogance.

    Anyway, its clear I’m the one wasting my time with you.

  16. Jarrah says:

    OK, everyone’s had their fun. Now re-read the comments policy and try to be more civil in future discussions.

  17. Josh says:

    Everyone from whatever side they sit should openly debate ideas. Open discussion is never a waste of time if parties go in engaging and actually talking truths from their perspective. I like to talk to all votes about their choice and why. I find it interesting and like to learn from others thoughts and experiences so that I can continually improve my message for a particular group, not to sell out my underlying principles but to know how to better explain them to those with different ideas.

    Politics like religion causes heated arguements. I came across LDP earlier this year. I was so happy that my vote had found a home. I am upset with the way Australia is heading, the major parties I feel dont address issues at the underlying course and are happy to spend public money for special interests which have very limited or negitive impacts.

    I want a government focused on protecting all citizens, equally and fairly.

  18. john walker says:

    Is it true that LDP senate preferences ended up with the DLP????

  19. Jarrah says:

    Yes, thanks to the weirdness of Senate preferential voting, and the necessities of vote-trading for micro parties.

  20. john walker says:

    ‘there is always something cooking , but there is nothing in the pot’
    ‘ Strange days indeed, mama’

  21. Ruby says:

    I would never vote for the LDP due to their climate policy.

  22. kitu. I to właśnie przy uruchamianiu tej stacji lutowniczej musiałem sobie na szybko zmontować przystawkę oscyloskopową do komputera, bez której nie udałoby mi się zdiagnozować problemu

  23. Gisela, I love how you describe them. I agree about the mother-daughter relationship but the Ondas struck ma as the most masculine of all, so that's how they came alive.I prefer the extraits too but I'm not in the mother category. Just refer to Suzanne'comment on playful and chic.

  24. tremendous issues here. I am very satisfied to see your article. Thank you a lot and i am taking a look ahead to contact you. Will you please drop me a mail?

  25. I think in some German speaking places they say Gruess Gott, literally "greet God" but shortened from "May God greet

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