Archive for July 2, 2011

Pauly Ponders Patriotism and Picnics

Pauly the polit­i­cal Platy­pus swims in a pool here at Log­a­rchism sur­rounded by peo­ple of all polit­i­cal per­sua­sions, and some­times he won­ders how folks get that way. There are any num­ber of fas­ci­nat­ing the­o­ries about what causes peo­ple to lean in a cer­tain polit­i­cal direc­tion. Brain struc­ture? Home envi­ron­ment? Edu­ca­tional expe­ri­ence? Urban ver­sus rural upbringing?

Imag­ine Pauly’s aston­ish­ment to learn it can all be traced back to sun­shine on the Fourth of July!

Boc­coni Uni­ver­sity assis­tant pro­fes­sor Andreas Madestam and Har­vard Kennedy School assis­tant pro­fes­sor David Yanagizawa-​​Drott decided to exam­ine how child­hood expe­ri­ences form adult polit­i­cal views. Specif­i­cally, “Does par­tic­i­pa­tion in national cer­e­monies and parades have a deeper impact by affect­ing children’s polit­i­cal beliefs, iden­tity, and behav­ior?” Since there are no records of which par­ents took their kids to the local park to watch fire­works, the researchers used his­tor­i­cal data of rain­fall on the Fourth of July — obvi­ously, fam­i­lies are less likely to watch fire­works in a down­pour and more likely to go in nice weather. And what did they conclude?

Each Fourth of July with­out rain before age 18 increases the like­li­hood of iden­ti­fy­ing as a Repub­li­can at age 40 by 2 per­cent, the share of peo­ple vot­ing for the Repub­li­can can­di­date at age 40 by 4 per­cent, and the share of peo­ple turn­ing out to vote at age 40 by 0.9 percent.

The study also sug­gests that “there is polit­i­cal con­gru­ence between patri­o­tism pro­moted on Fourth of July and Repub­li­can beliefs, as well as Fourth of July trans­mit­ting a non-​​partisan civic duty to vote.”

So check the sky on the Fourth of July! If there’s a bright sun up there… that means more Repub­li­cans a few decades down the road.

Fact-​​Checking the Romney Campaign

Lan­hee Chen and Mitt Romney

On June 13th, Mitt Rom­ney pol­icy direc­tor Lan­hee Chen posted a blog on the Rom­ney web site titled “Taxed and Spent: Amer­i­can Work­ers Suf­fer­ing Under Obama”. Fol­low­ing is the first paragraph:

Pres­i­dent Obama’s poli­cies have failed the Amer­i­can peo­ple. And nowhere has this fail­ure been more evi­dent than in this Administration’s han­dling of our nation’s econ­omy. In the month that Pres­i­dent Obama was inau­gu­rated, the unem­ploy­ment rate was 7.8%, the national debt stood at $10.6 tril­lion, and the aver­age price for a gal­lon of gas was $1.83. Today, in the third year of his pres­i­dency, unem­ploy­ment has bal­looned to 9.1%, the national debt tops $14 tril­lion, and Amer­i­cans are pay­ing double—$3.70 a gallon—for gas.

These num­bers are accu­rate inso­far as they go. The Fed­eral Reserve web site shows that the employ­ment rate was 7.8% on Jan­u­ary 1st, 2009 and is 9.1% as of May 1st, 2011. Note, how­ever, that the unem­ploy­ment rate reached 9.4% in May, just four months after Obama was inau­gu­rated, and reached the max­i­mum of 10.1% in Octo­ber, just nine months after.


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