. . . a bigger disconnect between economic reality and public perception?"
Investor's Business Daily asks the question, then answers.
Polls taken during the primary season have found Democrats embracing socialism, Republicans rejecting trade, and majorities in both parties saying . . .
. . . Wall Street is hurting the economy. That’s despite the general consensus among mainstream economists that none of these things is true.
Take Democrats’ views on socialism. An American Action Network poll finds that 40% of Democrats say socialism is the best form of government, while another 10% say both socialism and capitalism are best. In other words, half of Democratic voters are perfectly comfortable with the idea of the government owning and/or controlling the private sector. More than half of Democrats (57%) say that socialism has a positive impact on society.
. . . .
All this despite the unbroken string of failures with socialist states, the latest of which are all happening right in the nation’s backyard, where socialist policies have produced massive deprivation and chronic shortages. Just this week, Venezuela ordered a two-day workweek to save on electricity.
. . . .
Meanwhile, exit polls show that Republicans are more hostile to free trade than Democrats. In Pennsylvania, for example, 53% of GOP voters say trade with other nations “takes away U.S. jobs.” Just 42% of Democratic voters feel that way.
. . . .
Yet the benefits of trade are one of the most widely accepted economic principles.
Then there’s . . . Wall Street. In New York, more Republicans say Wall Street mostly hurts the economy (48%) than helps it, 43%. In Pennsylvania, half of Republican voters say it hurts, while just 41% say it helps. Among Democrats, nearly two-thirds in both states say Wall Street does more harm than good.
The problem is that leaders in neither party have done an effective job of educating the public on the truth, since there’s more political mileage to be gained by bashing trade, bashing “big banks,” bashing Wall Street, and bashing “greed” than there is explaining the benefits of a free market.
The free market principles that created the nation’s unprecedented prosperity won’t last long if no one is willing to defend them.
(Editorial, "Election Season Reveals Rampant Economic Illiteracy Among Voters," investors.com, April 29, 2016).
Why wouldn't American voters be ignorant about economics? Those responsible for teaching the truth either don't know or don't believe the truth. Public-school curriculum writers. Academics. Reporters. Editors. Progressive elites of every stripe.
Houston, Texas, for instance, has a daily newspaper that thinks Occupy Wall Street makes more sense than Milton Friedman.
Even when the newspaper gets something right, as it does with today's editorial about the troubles in Venezuela, it cannot bring itself to say the obvious thing: Socialism is to blame. (Editorial, "Venezuela's crisis," houstonchronicle.com, May 11, 2016)
The word "socialist" appears in the editorial, but only to name political players and their party. One might infer that Chronicle editors think badly of Venezuelan socialism, but there's no direct evidence in this editorial or any other I've seen in recent years to prove the point.
The editors as willing to charge the socialists, correctly, with usurping the will of the Venezuelan people, but not of having a defective ideology or, for that matter, of the massive corruption of high government officials.
And in a galling example of on-the-one-hand, on-the-other-hand evenhandedness, the editors sympathetically say the socialists "claim that they are fending off U.S.-backed right-wing conspiracies."
Presumably the work of that notorious rightwing conspirator, Barack Hussein Obama.
The newspaper's solution to the mess in Venezuela is not the simple one that would work, to end socialism by removing the usurping socialists from power. That's the only thing that ever works.
Instead, "we would urge President Maduro to put [Venezuela's] well-being ahead of his narrow political concerns and work with Parliament to quickly head off the social disaster that lies ahead if nothing is done."
The scary thing is that the people who write this do not seem to comprehend that socialists always believe -- even as they ruin their countries, states, and cities -- that they are acting for the well-being of their people.
The problem is not "narrow political concerns." It's statist economic ideology.
The Chronicle's solution is not designed to solve Venezuela's problems. It's designed to keep the socialists in power, presumably to protect their people against those right-wing conspiracies.
The newspaper's own economic illiteracy explains why it hems and haws about Venezuela while, by the day, supporting policies to move American policy ever leftward, always in the direction of socialism, never toward free markets and limited government.