Ideology, Opinions & Facts

Ideology is defined as "the body of doctrine, myth, belief, etc., that guides an individual, social movement, institution, class, or large group". Another definition is "theorizing of a visionary or impractical nature". An opinion is defined as "a belief or judgment that rests on grounds insufficient to produce complete certainty". And facts are real, right?

Though I'm not a conservative, this year I have very much enjoyed listening to conservative talk radio, especially Fox News. In previous years I would not touch it. My side, this year (I switch sides every few years), does not have anything interesting to say. Well, at least not what I am interested in.

As a population sample of one, it shows how complex a thinking voter's decision making process can be. But then, as one of my instructors said of me, "You overthink!" at which I replied "Please, don't tell anyone. Unfortunately, I was born handicapped. I'm Mensan". A 1 in a 100,000 to be exact. This unfortunately means that there are only 7 people brighter than me in Denver, CO; which just goes to show you, you don't have to be bright to be wealthy.

OK, stepping away from the "facts" and returning to "ideology". I heard this on conservative talk show a few days ago and hope I heard it correctly. Hourly rate workers in the services industry account for only 3% of the work force, and a 10% rise in the hourly rate would cause a 1% decline in jobs (or -1% growth).

All that screaming and yelling about doomsday scenarios, if poor people were allowed higher pay packets, surprises me. It reminds me of Charles Dickens' Oliver Twist. Let's look at these facts presented by conservative economic modelers.

Are we saying that we want to deny 99 out of a 100 hourly employees a better pay because 1 employee will lose his/her job? Don't you think that, that pay rise will filter back into the economy and contribute to raising GDP growth? And this "1" would get new employment, sooner rather than later?

But the real fallacy is in the presentation of the economic "facts". These economic models usually have a standard error of between 1% and 3%. 1% is rare, and the upper end can be more than 3%. What does this mean? Assuming the 1% standard error, this economic model result is -1% +/- 3% or the range of the possible model outcomes is between -4% to +2%. As someone with a Master's degree in statistics, the correct interpretation is 0% i.e. the purported 1% decline is statistically not different from zero.

That is, though economists strive very hard to get their models correct, the real fact is that economic modeling is closer to "opinion" than "fact". So take their model results with a pinch of salt.

Conclusion, a 10% increase in hourly pay rates will not negatively impact the economy. Think about this, in the last 100 years, how did average pays rise from approximately $600/year to $50,000/year with no negative impact to the economy?

In fact it has done the opposite. Today, we are the only remaining superpower, even though (1) we are the primary reason for China's modernization, and (2) we used our well paid brains to defeat the Soviet Union without firing a single missile.

This is something that both the Iranians and the Radical Islamist can learn from US.

Wishing my readers a More Thoughtful Happy New Year.