Americans are economic illiterates. Not just the people you laugh at on “People of Walmart,” but also Ben Bernanke, Barack Obama, every liberal I know, and everyone who’s getting a check from the government. (Hey, moron, your government check won’t be worth much when the government ain’t worth much. I might as well shout at a raccoon. And I have shouted at raccoons. They just go Robert De Niro–you talkin’ to me?)
A couple of weeks ago, I had a conversation with a really good guy about economics. Well, let’s just say, I started to have one. It became clear PDQ that he had no interest in the subject. Like most people, his understanding of economics is (1) If I were in charge… or (2) Hell, yeah, if I could get that benefit, I’d sure as hell take it!
Here’s the central insight of economics that these people don’t get: You shouldn’t pee in your own punchbowl. Or you shouldn’t crap in your water supply. Pick your metaphor, for some reason, mine are all scatological.
Right now, rational people are clinging to the idea that only insane people could refuse to recognize that indiscriminate peeing and pooping is poisoning everyone, including the pee-ers and poop-ers.
The truth is, people who live next door to you, who aren’t insane, who have lots of virtues and work hard for a living, who would never pee in anyone’s punchbowl or poop in their water supply, don’t get economic realities. They’re not evil, they’re not even stupid, they just don’t get it and there’s nothing you can do to make them get it. They’re not interested. Economics bores them. They’re like deer bored by approaching headlights.
And they’re the majority. Brace yourselves for landing.