Alex Tabarrok went to see President-elect Obama speak at George Mason University on Thursday and came away impressed. Why?
Here are Alex's words:
His [Obama's] goal is "not to create a slew of new government programs, but a foundation for long-term economic growth." Very good.
But that's bad reporting. What Alex should have said is, "Obama said his goal is 'not to create a slew of new government programs, but a foundation for long-term economic growth.'" See the difference? The way Alex put it is that Obama's goals are what Obama says they are. But Alex is not in Obama's head. He doesn't know what Obama's goals are. All he knows is what Obama says his goals are. One of things politicians are good at, and Obama seems particularly good at, is making people believe them. But centuries of experience and tens of thousands of data points should make us, and should have made Alex, skeptical.