How to tell if you’re in the mainstream of American

craig cantoniBy Craig Cantoni | November 12, 2008

Are you in the mainstream of American thinking? Do you have what it takes to be a member of Congress, president of the United States, teacher or trusted leader? Do you have the proper view of government, the economy, and other subjects? Take the following test. Good luck!

1: Business profits average about six percent of national income of which federal, state and local governments consume about 44 percent. Which of the following should be reduced?
a) Corporate profits; b) Government spending
If you selected “a,” you’re in line with mainstream thinking. Congrats! You get a free subscription to USA Today or a comic book of your choice, whichever you can read without moving your lips.

2: All of the experiments with collectivism in this country, such as the communitarian communities of New Harmony and Oneida, quickly failed due to the inherent fatal flaws of central planning and the collective ownership of property. Similar experiments by nation states have resulted in tyranny, mass starvation, and widespread poverty. What is best for the nation?
a) More collectivism; b) Less collectivism
If “a” was your answer, you should think about applying for a job at The New York Times.

3: Governments intentionally killed over 100 million people in the twentieth century alone. Industry accidentally killed a tiny fraction of this number and actually saved more lives through inventions and discoveries. Consider what happened during the Great Influenza of the second decade of the twentieth century. Private medical doctors and institutions warned the government that influenza would spread and kill thousands if the government went ahead with a war bond parade in Philadelphia. The government heartlessly went ahead with the parade. What is the greatest threat to life?
a) Business; b) Government
Many people who have chosen the answer “a” have experienced the terror of Ronald McDonald putting a gun to their head and forcing them to buy a Big Mac.

4: Medical care and medical insurance are much more costly than they would otherwise be, due to the government virtually destroying a consumer market in healthcare over the last 66 years and shifting costs to third parties. What should be done to make medical care/insurance more available/affordable?
a) Nationalize all remnants of a consumer market; b) Restore a consumer market.
Your intellect is awesome if you chose “a.” No doubt, in order to be intellectually consistent you also want the government to nationalize the food industry and require all Americans to eat at government commissaries. Burp! Excuse me.

5: The federal government is insolvent and is printing money to hide the fact. It also has over $60 trillion in unfunded liabilities for Social Security and Medicare – over $700,000 for each American under the age of 18. What should be done about this?
a) Give Americans more free stuff and entitlements; b) Give Americans less free stuff and fewer entitlements.
Run for office if you answered “a.” Note: You’re halfway done. If you happen to be failing the test, don’t despair.You can turn the situation around by burning your extensive library of history, philosophy, and economics books, especially those by Milton Friedman, F.A. Hayek, and Thomas Sowell. Replace them with mainstream reading material, such as Newsweek, high school textbooks, and college lectures. You should also watch a lot of network news and 24/7 cable news. In short order, you’ll be getting the questions right.

6: Inflation is an insidious, hidden tax. From 1776 to the passage of the Federal Reserve Act in 1913, inflation averaged almost zero. Since 1913, inflation has increased dramatically, especially after the gold peg was removed. In the last half-century, the dollar has lost about 90 percent of its value, and the money supply has increased by about 3,000 percent. Along with government housing policies, easy money was the primary cause of the latest housing bubble and subsequent collapse. Government printing presses are now running red hot to pay the cost of the bailout. High inflation will inevitably follow the current economic downturn, thus penalizing savers, who are the backbone of a healthy economy. Can you trust the government with your money?
a) Yes; b) No.
Correct answer: “a.”

7: Fatherless families are a leading cause of poverty, school dropouts, crime and emotional problems. A leading cause of fatherless families is men who walk away from their parental responsibilities and encourage the mothers of their children to “marry” the state. What government action would have the highest payoff in reducing poverty, school dropouts, crime, and emotional problems?
a) Increase spending on welfare, K-12 education, childcare, tutors, and psychotropic drugs; b) Remove the incentives for men to walk away and for women to marry the state.
Correct answer: “a.”

8: G.W. Bush increased federal spending more than any president since Lyndon Johnson. In terms of regulations, his administration set a record in 2004 for proposed and enacted rules published in the Federal Register – 75,000 pages. His increase in regulatory spending in 2003 of more than 24 percent broke a 50-year record. In all, he increased regulatory spending by 68 percent during his two terms. Before becoming president, he made millions from taxpayer-subsidized baseball. What does this make him?
a) A cowboy capitalist whose cutting of regulations was responsible for the mortgage meltdown and economic crisis; b) A big-government statist like the Democrats.
If you selected “a” you have a wonderful ability to disregard facts. Are you a journalist?

9: Franklin Delano Roosevelt protracted the Great Depression with his cornucopia of new regulatory agencies. Canada’s banking system was less regulated but fared much better than the U.S. system during the Great Depression. In 1992, the highly regulated Swedish economy and banking system experienced a housing meltdown and economic crisis similar to the situation in the U.S. today. What is the primary cause of today’s housing meltdown and economic crisis?
a) A lack of regulations; b) An assumption perpetuated by the government that home prices would always go up, although they’ve gone down in 50 of the last 100 years.
Correct answer: “a.”

10: Obama would get a perfect score on this test, for he would choose answer “a” for all of the preceding questions. Did you vote for him?
a) Yes; b) No.

If you answered “a” to every question, you are solidly in the mainstream.
If you answered “b” to every question, you feel like a stranger in a strange land, you yell at the TV, mutter at the newspaper, are seen as a crackpot, and are thinking of emigrating.

Incidentally, I failed the test.