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Our ongoing experiment in the Dunning-Kruger effect and its disdain for democracy

by: Eric B.

Sat May 10, 2014 at 12:00:00 PM EDT

People occassionally ask about the origins of "our ongoing experiment in the Dunning-Kruger effect." A lot of people labor under the notion that it applies to someone who thinks that he or she is a lot smarter than he or she really is. It's an easy misconception since that would probably be a quality at work. But, what it really involves is competence: The least competent people tend to see themselves as the most competent, because they are usually in short supply of self awareness, and the most competent tend to see themselves as either mediocre or only moderatly competent, because they tend to assess themselves by their weaknesses as well as their strength. Our lawmakers truly spoken don't have a reputation for being particularly smart people. Most of them got their jobs not through excellence in statesmanship, but because they're great at back slapping each other and knowing whose palms to grease. Part of this equation is that they appear to feel quite a bit of disdain towards dissenting opinions, or at least avenues etched in the democratic process that might allow dissenting opinions to override theirs.

This is why they keep going to lengths to prevent the electorate from having a say on the wolf hunt (though this is driven by a general sense by gun nuts that their right to kill whatever they want for whatever half-baked reason they offer is somehow enshrined in the Bible), and the rape insurance rider, and now the minimum wage. Brian Dickerson at the Freep has more (the entire thing is worth reading).

Richardville and his colleagues haven’t always been so contemptuous of the ballot initiative process. Why, just last year, when Right to Life of Michigan collected sufficient signatures to put a controversial bill restricting private insurance coverage for abortions before voters this November, Republican legislators decided to save the organization the expense and risk of a ballot campaign by adopting the measure outright.

But forcing women to pay more for abortions is one thing; forcing employers to pay their workers a living wage is quite another. And in Richardville’s view, permitting voters to exercise their constitutional right to raise the minimum wage is a bridge too far.

“The biggest number, for me, is the unemployment rate,” Richardville said. Although many economists disagree, it’s the GOP’s conviction that substantially boosting the minimum wage will spur employers to lay off workers, stalling the state’s economic recovery.

Take note of the last paragraph. It's a GOP conviction, even one at odds with expert opinion, that raising the minimum wage will cause a bunch of layoffs. This is based on taking the extreme edges of that CBO report on potential job losses and ignoring the hundreds of thousands of people out of poverty and the millions who will see their weekly earnings go up as a result. Nevermind all that ... Randy Richardville has a feeling that unemployment will go up higher than anyone is predicting, so he and the rest of our ongoing experiment in the Dunning-Kruger effect are going to take the right to decide from the electorate.

Nobody has any business feeling blindsided or surprised by this, because this is how the Republican Party has approached policy making for three decades. Anyone remember the trickle down effect of tax cuts that really just meant that the really wealthy would pee all over everyone's back? I'm talking about George Bush Jr.'s unfinanced tax cuts. Anyone remember how certain they were, despite having no evidence, that we needed to invade Iraq? I could go on, but the point is made.

Eric B. :: Our ongoing experiment in the Dunning-Kruger effect and its disdain for democracy
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Response from Raise Michigan
If I were running the minimum wage campaign I would consider immediately halting spending money and time on gathering more petition signatures and announce that the reason is because the Republican-controlled Legislature is using trickery and legislative gimmicks to block a vote of the people on minimum wage so they can continue providing corporate welfare for their political friends.  

The average wage of a WalMart worker is around $8.80 cents an hour and a large percentage of workers there need food stamps to survive.   Senate Republicans are proposing raising the minimum wage to just $8.15 an hour.  Their policy position, then, is that it's just fine for taxpayers to continue subsidizing corporations like WalMart and fast food joints owned by people like MI GOP chair Bobby Schostak.  Privatize profits, socialize costs is the Republican platform in Michigan.  

A suggestion for the site
How about following the lead of Charles Pierce and provide a glossary of frequently-used expressions and nicknames, such as "Lil Fella" and "Goat Killer". I'm sure people who post here frequently will come up with many others.

A government that robs Peter to pay Paul can always count on the support of Paul.

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