11 May 2019           home | politics

Reason, Assumption and the Economy

Thinking has been described as making connections and as drawing lines between the dots. We assume that we draw these lines with accuracy, but often we don't. We are simplistic in our visions of circumstances transmitting change to other circumstances.

We might assume causation when the simultaneity we are seeing is only coincidence. Or we might be ignoring another force, like a room brighter not because of a window that has been cleaned but because the sun has come out.

Judging connections is something forced on historians. Perhaps we should not consider President Hoover as single-handedly having caused the Great Depression, ignoring circumstances and challenges visited upon him that were not entirely his doing.

And today we have differences of opinion regarding credit for good news about aspects of the economy. The unemployment rate is down at 3.8 percent. The economy's growth rate is up at an annualized rate of 3.1 percent. Democrats are denying President Trump the credit he is claiming. Democrats offer a rival explanation for the recent good numbers, and they describe Trump as not having supported legislation (his tax cuts) instrumental in creating the good numbers.

The difference in opinion is common, of course. Reason demands making valid connections, but assumption and simplistic thinking is easier than rigorous analysis.

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Copyright © 2019 by Frank E. Smitha. All rights reserved.