After skewering Obama’s views on economic policy, Thomas Sowell (like another guy who bolstered my love of econ when I was a discouraged undergrad) concludes with a ringing denial of voters’ rational expectations:

But politics is not about facts. It is about what politicians can get people to believe.

Yep. This is the political economy that belongs in top econ journals, not silly models where the man in the street understands economics plus or minus random noise.

My only quibble with Sowell is that he’s too hard on the politicians. If it were easy to “get people to believe” that free trade is a good idea, politicians would be happy to do so. The problem is that voters are a lot more willing to believe economic fallacies than grapple with economic realities, and politicians take the path of least resistance.