Wednesday, May 1, 2013

To Republicans, Ignorance is Bliss.. Apparently.

Rep. Jeff Duncan (R), South Carolina  

Good grief.  Does the Republican insanity ever end?    

A group of Republicans, led by Jeff Duncan of South Carolina, wants to eliminate key economic statistics by eliminating all of the surveys that the government now conducts, except the ten year Census.  From the Huffington Post:.

"A group of Republicans (is) cooking up legislation that could give President Barack Obama an unintentional assist with disagreeable unemployment numbers -- by eliminating the key economic statistic altogether. 
The bill, introduced last week by Rep. Jeff Duncan (R-S.C.), would bar the U.S. Census Bureau from conducting nearly all surveys except for a decennial population count. Such a step that would end the government's ability to provide reliable estimates of the employment rate. Indeed, the government would not be able to produce any of the major economic indices that move markets every month, said multiple statistics experts, who were aghast at the proposal."

Who Needs Numbers Anyway?  Let's Just Stay in the Fog! 

We don't need to know how many people are employed or unemployed, how many live in poverty, how many people are dying or being born at what rates, how many people are in school or have degrees, right?

Apparently none of that stuff is important or necessary to the numbnuts who call themselves Republicans.  No wonder we are increasingly becoming the laughingstock of the developed world.


"Information is the bane of all oligarchs and tyrants."

Comments from the article:

Independent observers had a hard time wrapping their minds around the legislation. 
"This learning is valuable in so many ways -- in terms of helping the government allocate resources, allowing researchers to deepen our understanding of our social and cultural life, allowing business to make decisions about how to target customers and thereby become more profitable, and so on," said John Sides, a professor of political science at George Washington University. 
"It's hard to take this seriously because they're really saying also they don't want GDP. They want no facts about what's going on in the U.S. economy," said (Maurine) Haver, (past president of the National Association for Business Economics). "It's so fundamental to a free society that we have this kind of information, I can't fathom where they're coming from. I really can't." 
"It's so unimaginable. It would be like saying we don't need policemen anymore, we don't need firemen anymore," said (Ken) Prewitt, (former director of the Census). "To say suddenly we don't need statistical information about the American economy, or American society, or American demography, or American trade, or whatever -- it's an Alice in Wonderland moment."...
Haver also suggested there is a fundamental divide between people who are interested in solid, reality-based data and those who are not.
"If you know what you think, you don't need information to help you assess what's going on," she said. "The people that need information are the people who use it because they really want the truth, not people who think that because they believe it, it becomes the truth."

Other great comments from readers:

  • No way, listen to the shock in my voice, something absolutely insanely stupid is uttered from a South Carolinian. You know, the state that until just a matter of years ago was flying the confederate flag at their statehouse.
  • In an IQ challenge between this guy and a box of rocks, box of rocks in a route...
  • As a Six Sigma guy, it hurts my brain to think that someone would want to willfully dismantle the metrics by which socioeconomic success is measured. I worship at the altar of data, and let fact-based analysis guide my decisions, both professionally, and in my personal life. For a member of Congress, and sponsors, to propose this nonsense, well, there are a host of colorful adjectives to choose from, none likely acceptable to the HP moderators. Bottom line, this is willful ignorance at its most despicable.
  • Wow. One of the stupidest and most dangerous things I've ever heard Republicans propose. Unbelievable. And people still wonder why the rest of the world thinks America has completely lost it's collective mind...
  • I love this bill. It perfectly embodies the willful ignorance at the core of modern conservatism.
  • So, in essence, the Republicans want to return the American people to a state of complete ignorance about the state of their economy, their population's demographics and comparative standing in the world...When did the US become North Korea? 
  • Do away with GDP data, I guess so if you are a repub.....
  • Given that starting with Truman every DEM as reduced deficits as a percent of GDP(that includes Obama who has almost reduced the mess he was handed by 50%) and every repub after IKE has increased deficits as a percent of GDP!
  • Is there even ONE republican't with a functional brain anymore, anywhere?
  • They (republicans) really DO live in an alternate universe. I was going to say, alternate reality but that would be a stretch of the imagination too far.
  • Why is everyone so amazed at this GOP-proposed legislation? If you want to rule by ideology and don't want to be hounded by facts, you just get rid of the facts.  There, that wasn't so hard, was it?
  • There are many pressing issues so lets waste a bunch of time trying to enacting a law that has 0 chance of becoming law (even in a Republican controlled government) and also completely unnecessary. Because that is what the good people of South Carolina elected me to do!
  • South Carolina rocks! It's the greatest States in the greatest nation. We know what is important and Census data - not so important! Partly because it's a bunch of numbers. We hate numbers. Number always lie about the state of affairs. By eliminating numbers, we eliminate the unemployment and math - did I mention I hate math!
  • Having reneged on their 2010 mantra of "jobs, jobs, jobs", the GOTP is considering a different method to get rid of unemployment.
  • Just insane. Can't prove your theories work with data? Discontinue the data and keep pushing a theory with no way to know if it works. Now, that just doesn't seem smart or wise. Census data is used in healthcare, agriculture, infrastructure planning, and more on national and state levels. One big round of let's be ignorant and see what happens. Can't be good no matter how you look at it..
Republicans want to get rid of most of the work of the Census Bureau, not the Democrats! 

And yet, even in the comments to this article, there were a couple of people trying to tell us that "Both Parties Are the Same".   No, I don't see Democrats trying to get rid of Census Bureau statistical surveys or the unemployment rate.    

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