By Mathew Goldstein
The Initiative for Global Markets asks an Economic Experts Panel public policy questions and publishes their answers on the Internet. The panel consists of fifty one "senior faculty at the most elite research universities in the United States" that "was chosen to include distinguished experts with a keen interest in public policy from the major areas of economics, to be geographically diverse, and to include Democrats, Republicans and Independents as well as older and younger scholars." These are people who make a career of studying the empirical evidence to try to find the logical best fit predictions for the impacts of different public policies. Sometimes they share a consensus, or near consensus, conclusion. Our civic obligation as voters is to be aware of, respect, and defer to, the expert consensus. We are not going to be better informed, or more likely to have the better answer, than they are when they reach a close to consensus view on an economics related public policy question.
For example, no one should be voting for President, Congress, or Governer someone who advocates for re-implementing the Gold Standard, such as Senator Ted Cruz, Senator Rand Paul, Governor Mike Huckabee, Governor Chris Christie, or presidential candidate Donald Trump together with his choice for Vice President, Governor Mike Pence, given that economists unanimously think that is a bad policy. It is embarrassing for our country that people who presume to know better than our own experts are elected. Of particular interest to secularism advocates are the questions on vaccines and primary school vouchers. There is close to a consensus here for mandating vaccinations against contagious diseases that maim or kill as advocated by the Secular Coalition for America. For anyone interested in public policy more generally there are many interesting poll results to ponder. It should be standard practice for universities to encourage their faculty to participate in public policy opinion polls.