Sunday, 28 August 2011

American civic liberties quiz

I took the [American] Civic Literacy Exam. 33 questions on a range of issues concerning history, politics and economics.

Most of the questions were reasonable, though a couple may have been disputed based on theory versus fact. Definitions are reasonable, as are historical facts; but observations in line with theory may be disputable. For example,
International trade and specialization most often lead to which of the following?
  • an increase in a nation’s productivity
  • a decrease in a nation’s economic growth in the long term
  • an increase in a nation’s import tariffs
  • a decrease in a nation’s standard of living
While I agree with the answer, and it could be argued that observations have confirmed this, economists of other schools may dispute it.

The average result was 49%, with US college educators (university lecturers) averaging 55%. I managed 88% (29/33) despite its heavy US focus. This seems a little concerning for US education.

My incorrect answers were:
  • What part of the [US] government has the power to declare war?
  • What was the main issue in the debates between Abraham Lincoln and Stephen A. Douglas in 1858?
  • Which of the following fiscal policy combinations has the federal government most often followed to stimulate economic activity when the economy is in a severe recession?
  • If taxes equal government spending, then:
I am not convinced that my answer to the taxes question was incorrect. The question is
If taxes equal government spending, then:
  1. government debt is zero
  2. printing money no longer causes inflation
  3. government is not helping anybody
  4. tax per person equals government spending per person on average
  5. tax loopholes and special-interest spending are absent
I answered 1, zero debt. I was assuming that the government had no debt prior to this. And #1 seems reasonable unless the government has a significant other incomes (such as mines). 2 is incorrect. 3 might happen to be true, but not because of the question. 4 is supposedly correct. 5 is incorrect.

Option 4 doesn't seem to be correct; again if the government has other incomes, but also taxes from companies means that government spending per person may differ from tax per person. I still think (assuming no debt prior) that answer 1 is better, though I am happy to be corrected.

8 comments:

  1. I got 90%, but there were only 10 questions.

    ReplyDelete
  2. I chose 4 which is correct. It says tax not income equals spending then per person is equal. That's right.

    ReplyDelete
  3. TMYU, what about corporate tax? You can't include corporate tax with personal tax and average the lot over the number of persons.

    ReplyDelete
  4. This time I got an 87.78%. Interestingly, I got all the political and historical questions right, but got 4 economic questions wrong (which were all the ones I answered incorrectly). I've always said I was poor at economics.

    ReplyDelete
  5. Take heart that you are above the average for college educators.

    Consider reading Hazlitt's Economics in one lesson

    ReplyDelete
  6. tax per person = govt spending per person on avg.
    That's right.
    tax per person, not personal tax.
    But anyway, Corporates represent people because they are owned by someone (even if through a few shell companies first).

    ReplyDelete
  7. TMYU, I still think it is a poor question. So how well did you do?

    ReplyDelete

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