The reality is “facts” don’t mean much in the way of beliefs. Telling a person, who has the sincerest gut belief, the statistic that more Americans are killed each year by furniture than terrorism becomes somehow unconvincing, or rather disagreeable. Political psychologists call this tendency of people to conform assessments of information to some goal or end extrinsic to accuracy “motivated reasoning.” In other words, people believe what they want to believe.
Oct. 7 (Bloomberg) — In Florida this week, Republican presidential candidate Mitt Romney was asked about the growing Occupy Wall Street movement. “I think it’s dangerous, this class warfare,” he said. Romney’s right. It may be dangerous — to his chances of being elected. Occupy Wall Street, now almost three weeks old, isn’t like the […]
WASHINGTON — The Republican establishment is said to have grave qualms about Gov. Rick Perry. Here’s the problem: There is no Republican establishment. It squandered its authority by building up the tea party’s brigades and then fearing them too much to do anything to check their power. Worse for those who think Perry would be […]
Despite the predictions of investors and traders, Chairman Ben Bernanke announced in a speech Friday that he would not be proposing new steps by the Federal Reserve to help the economy. The reasons behind his inaction might be more political than monetary. Many people worry that the United States is on the brink of another […]
Hold on for just a New York minute now and consider the powerfully serious message the bond market sent last week about the political dithering in Washington and in Europe’s capitals. “Pay attention folks,” as the investor Gifford Combs e-mailed me on Friday. “This is not a drill.” Here are the facts: The yield on […]