And Economists do badly on basic writing.

“Self-identified liberals and Democrats do badly on questions of basic economics”, reports the Wall Street Journal.

I would take these findings with a few tons of salt, however, because some of the questions in their survey are frankly bizarre. For example, one of the questions they ask is: “Free trade leads to unemployment;  do you agree, disagree or are you not sure?” (The “correct” answer is “disagree”.)

This question is far too simplistic to either agree or disagree with. In a free market, even in an economic boom period, there is expected to always be a certain level of unemployment, because at any given time some people are going to be in the process of switching jobs. In a communist country, on the other hand, the State could always claim everyone was employed, even if they weren’t doing anything useful or fulfilling.

I believe the “ideal” level of unemployment is thought to be somewhere between 3% and 5% in the U.S. So, really, if you believed that the free market worked perfectly to produce ideal outcomes for the macro-economy, it would necessarily produce between a 3% and 5% rate of unemployment.

What's your stake in this, cowboy?