Marketplace Scratch Pad

Bloggers call it like they see it

Scott Jagow Feb 2, 2010

I’m participating in an exciting new project from The Kauffman Foundation on entrepreneurship. I’m on the advisory board for a new quarterly survey of economic bloggers. The first survey is out today, and the results are pretty clear. The economy’s doing worse than the government says it is, the government’s too involved and Congress gets an “F”.

Read all the results here, but some highlights:

About 80 econ bloggers were surveyed. They represent diverse political views (according to the responses — 47% independent, 19% Democrat, 16% Republican, 18% other).

About half of bloggers said economic conditions were worse than official statistics indicated. Only six percent said they were better. 33 percent said the economy was weak, seven percent said it was strong. The remainder said it was mixed. More:

When asked for the growth prospects for key measures of economic activity over the next three years, the largest increases are expected to be in interest rates, inflation, and the budget deficit. U.S. output and jobs are expected to increase, but with about half the intensity of growth in global output.

71% said the government is “too involved in the economy.” 17% called for greater involvement. We also gave out some grades. Here are the Grade Point Averages:

Watchdog groups (CBO, GAO, etc) 2.3
US business community 2.2
European Central Bank 2.0
Federal Reserve 1.7
World Bank 1.6
Wall Street firms 1.2
Congress .7

It reminds me of the scene from Animal House when Dean Wormer is telling the Delta pledge class its grades. Congress is John Belushi. MR. BLUTARSKY: ZERO-POINT-ZERO.

Another question — How important are the following to the health US economy? Summarizing the answers:

Entrepreneurs: Very important
Innovation: Very important
Free trade: Very important
Education: Very important
Big business: Somewhat important
Manufacturing: Somewhat important
Labor unions: Unimportant

When asked what the government should be doing, the only policies with more than 50 percent support were: increase high-skill immigration and increase legal immigration at all skill levels. Two policies stood out sharply with near-unanimous opposition: increasing business regulation and raising barriers to international trade.

Let’s discuss. Do econ bloggers have it about right? Or do you see any of this differently?

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