In September of 2012 – Rick Santorum went on record as saying, “We will never have the elite, smart people on our side.” and he certainly seems to have been a man before his time in that regard. A survey by the Economist showed a “large margin” of economists supported President Obama; in addition – 68 Nobel Laureates have written a letter endorsing President Obama. Those economists surveyed rated President Obama higher on every category from growth, trade, immigration reform, and fiscal discipline; the only area Romney rated better was on “entitlement reform”. But what do economists and Noble Laureates know about the economy or innovation anyway?
The Economist explains their survey of economists HERE; it was mostly great with some few gems for Romney:
But whom would the experts pick? To find out, The Economist polled hundreds of professional academic and business economists. Our main finding should hearten Mr Obama. By a large margin they rate his overall economic plan more highly than Mr Romney’s, credit him with a better grasp of economics, and think him more likely to appoint a good economic team (see chart). They do not hold the perpetually disappointing recovery against him; half of respondents graded his record as good or very good, compared with just 5% who said that about George Bush in our poll four years ago. “It all depends on the counterfactual,” said Justin Wolfers, an economist at the University of Pennsylvania’s Wharton School, referring to how bad things might have been without the president’s emergency measures.
On two specific issues, economists—both the full sample and the independents—clearly preferred Mr Obama: by 58% to 10% they thought he would handle China better than Mr Romney, and by 63% to 15% they thought he would make wiser appointments to the Federal Reserve. Like many past candidates, Mr Romney has been confrontational towards China on the campaign trail, promising to label it a currency manipulator on his first day in office, which went over badly with perhaps the only segment of the electorate that is solidly pro-free trade. “We have to assume Romney is lying about most of his plans,” one Republican academic observed.
68 Nobel Laureates have co-signed an “open letter to the American people” explaining why they were endorsing President Obama over Mitt Romney. They called Obama a “champion” for “science and technology research” and saying quite clearly that Romney would “devastate” innovation in this country. You can read their letter HERE; an excerpt:
President Obama understands the key role science has played in building a prosperous America, has delivered on his promise to renew our faith in science-based decision making and has championed investment in science and technology research that is the engine of our economy. He has built strong programs to educate young Americans in Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics and programs to provide Americans the training they need to keep pace with a technology-driven economy.
His opponent supports a budget that, if implemented, would devastate a long tradition of support for public research and investment in science at a time when this country’s future depends, as never before, on innovation. He has also taken positions that privilege ideology over clear scientific evidence on climate change.
The Center for American Progress explains the importance of these Nobel Laureates HERE:
These are America’s most accomplished scientists, and their discoveries have led to real progress. Without James Watson’s discovery of the structure and function of DNA and RNA, we would not have a biotechnology industry that contributes nearly $1 trillion annually to the U.S. economy. And Charles Townes’s discovery of the maser, which later led to the laser, has touched nearly every industry and countless everyday products, from DVDs to LASIK eye surgery to precision manufacturing.
At CAP Action we believe public investments in science and technology are the bedrock of our nation’s economy and key to future prosperity. Indeed, another Nobel laureate, Robert Solow, won the prize in economics in 1987 for showing that more than half of the wealth our nation has created since World War II stems directly from technological innovation. The iPhone 5 alone, which itself contains countless inventions that arose from federally funded research, is predicted to add between one-quarter and one-half of a percentage point to our nation’s gross domestic product this year, according to the chief U.S. economist at JPMorgan.
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