Sunday, January 16, 2011

Test Your Civics IQ

Are you more knowledgeable than the average citizen? The average score for all 2,508 Americans taking the following Civics test was 49%; college educators scored 55%. Can you do better?  The 33 questions on this Civics Quiz were taken from the 2008 Civic Literacy exam.

HT: Mike Munger


Update: See Mike Munger's explanation of question #33 at the link above.   

29 Comments:

At 1/17/2011 12:08 AM, Blogger Angela said...

87.88% - I didn't cheat.

 
At 1/17/2011 12:28 AM, Blogger Philip said...

At Christmas, my cousins and I discussed how most Americans seem incapable of passing TOEFL or civics exams required for immigration.

Considering the nature of local knowledge in a free market, I wonder if this is a good thing about America. We are not compelled or exhorted to know certain information on a daily basis, and what we know arises from our own self interest for success. Is it possibly a good thing nobody makes you remember information you don't find useful in being productive?

 
At 1/17/2011 12:56 AM, Blogger Jason said...

Got two wrong...I'm going to be pissed about that for a week.

 
At 1/17/2011 1:17 AM, Blogger Richard said...

87.88, and I'm not even american!

 
At 1/17/2011 8:09 AM, Blogger juandos said...

Is any of this taught in high school anymore?

I missed one but I have a disagreement with it -#30...

 
At 1/17/2011 8:37 AM, Blogger Jason said...

Juandos, you disagree on philosophical grounds?

 
At 1/17/2011 8:47 AM, Blogger scomi said...

90%! I also got number 30 wrong and disagree with the correct answer.

 
At 1/17/2011 9:37 AM, Blogger VangelV said...

Same thing. I missed #30 and disagree with the answer. Governments usually increase spending and taxes during a recession even as they get the central bank to flood the system with liquidity.

 
At 1/17/2011 10:37 AM, Blogger Rufus II said...

No, lowering taxes, and increasing spending is "textbook" economics.

But, it sure looks to me like #33 has two correct answers. I guess I'm missing something.

93.94% - missed two

 
At 1/17/2011 10:43 AM, Blogger juandos said...

"...you disagree on philosophical grounds?"...

No Jason, spending is the problem and increasing spending is just throwing more gasoline on the fire...

 
At 1/17/2011 10:55 AM, Blogger Bumper said...

Disagree with several of the "correct" answers. #30, #33!
Not to mention the freebie of The New Deal cited later in the quiz.
They say 3 wrong, I say ONE! 90.91%

 
At 1/17/2011 11:02 AM, Blogger VangelV said...

No, lowering taxes, and increasing spending is "textbook" economics.

I do not believe that the question is concerned with 'textbook' economics. It asked, "Which of the following fiscal policy combinations would a government MOST LIKELY FOLLOW to stimulate economic activity when the economy is in a severe recession?" If you looked at what Obama wanted to do and what was done in most places during the 1970s you would see that governments more often than not choose both higher taxes and more spending.

But, it sure looks to me like #33 has two correct answers. I guess I'm missing something.

It is a bit tricky. If you start with a deficit than having taxes equal government spending will still leave the government in debt.

 
At 1/17/2011 11:14 AM, Blogger Buddy R Pacifico said...

I was hoping the professor graded on a curve but now I think everyone over 90% should get a 4.0 -- this is an informed class. The "correct" answer to #33 is questionable and worthy of an extra credit assignment.

 
At 1/17/2011 11:28 AM, Blogger VangelV said...

The "correct" answer to #33 is questionable and worthy of an extra credit assignment.

Question #33 is a trick. As I wrote above, if you start in debt running a balanced budget would still leave you in debt until it is finally retired after the last payment is made. That makes their answer technically correct and the answer (a) that I assume many gave wrong.

 
At 1/17/2011 11:49 AM, Blogger Rufus II said...

If they would have said "average" tax per person would be equalt to "average" spending per person we wouldn't have a leg to stand on; but they didn't.

Ah, what the hey.

We still beat the dumbo politicos.

By Double!

 
At 1/17/2011 1:25 PM, Blogger Michael Hoff said...

96.97%. Only missed #30, and I'd argue the hell out of it. And I didn't cheat either, Angela.

Not bad for a goober from the sticks with a writing degree.

 
At 1/17/2011 2:00 PM, Blogger Junkyard_hawg1985 said...

Woo Hoo! 33 of 33.

 
At 1/17/2011 2:21 PM, Blogger Jason said...

100%. w00t!

 
At 1/17/2011 2:29 PM, Blogger SBVOR said...

This comment has been removed by the author.

 
At 1/17/2011 2:36 PM, Blogger SBVOR said...

I got two wrong -- #4 & #14.

#30 is poorly worded. Government is "most likely" to do the wrong thing almost every time. Replace "most likely" with "optimally" and you've got a better wording.

#33 - Just because "taxes equal government spending" at the moment does not imply that has always been the case. Furthermore, there may be sources of government revenue other than taxes. Ergo, the official answer is the correct answer.

 
At 1/17/2011 4:09 PM, Blogger Ron H. said...

Jason said...

"Juandos, you disagree on philosophical grounds?"

It depends on your economics. I struggled with #30 for a while also. If the question had been worded "what policy SHOULD a government likely follow" An Austrian would answer "D". I assumed that it was more likely than not that a Keynesian wrote the question, so their correct answer would be "C".

And, as VangelV read the question, based on past experience, we could predict "A".

 
At 1/17/2011 4:49 PM, Blogger misterjosh said...

32/33
Wrong about the Puritans.

 
At 1/17/2011 5:22 PM, Blogger misterjosh said...

I don't understand y'all (and Munger) saying that 33 was a trick question. It was obviously imprecisely worded, but ascribing cleverness to the questioner is unwarranted.

As for 30, I think the statistics will bear out that our overlords are more likely to increase spending & lower taxes during a recession. W & Obama have both done it. Let face it - they're ALWAYS going to increase spending if given the opportunity & what better time to buy off taxpayers than during a recession?

 
At 1/17/2011 8:02 PM, Blogger VangelV said...

W & Obama have both done it.

Obama wanted to let the tax rates go up and the Democrats campaigned on the need to tax the rich so I would suggest that things are not what you claim them to be. Nixon, Carter, H, and Clinton raised taxes and increased spending. I am still trying to figure out what Reagan's net effect was on taxes because he certainly hiked SS and Medicare contributions and eliminated many deductions that were used to avoid taxes by many people.

 
At 1/17/2011 8:36 PM, Blogger misterjosh said...

Well technically we're no longer in a recession, so the topic of letting taxes go up this year would not be germane to this discussion.

They weren't huge, but tax cuts were definitely a part of the democrat stimulus package in 2009.

I'm far too lazy to look up anything more than 10 years ago, but this dude seems to think that Reagain was the first prez since Hoover to raise taxes during a recession, though he seems awfully political, so I wouldn't be surprised if he had twisted the figures.

 
At 1/17/2011 8:57 PM, Blogger VangelV said...

Well technically we're no longer in a recession, so the topic of letting taxes go up this year would not be germane to this discussion.

If you were not in a recession there would not be a QE2 operation and a reported 17% U-6 unemployment rate.

 
At 1/17/2011 9:10 PM, Blogger SBVOR said...

MisterJosh sez:

“They weren't huge, but tax cuts were definitely a part of the democrat stimulus package in 2009.”

1) The so-called “Politifact” is a disingenuously named propaganda outlet for the so-called “Progressive” agenda. “Politifact” is about as objective as the opinion page of the New York Times.

2) Even USAToday knows those so-called “tax cuts” were -- in fact -- tax credits handed out to those who pay NO income tax. It was not a tax cut, it was yet another entitlement and yet another forcible redistribution of wealth.

 
At 1/18/2011 1:22 PM, Blogger Ron H. said...

"They weren't huge, but tax cuts were definitely a part of the democrat stimulus package in 2009."

MisterJosh,

A tax rebate is not a tax cut, which would require reducing tax rates. this drop in the bucket ($400 single, $800 joint) rebate didn't fool many into thinking they had more money to spend.

And, as SBVOR pointed out, handing a tax credit to people who pay no taxes, is certainly not a tax cut.

The cynical Obama administration even tried to make the rebate appear to be a reduction in rates by reducing withholding rates, so your rebate accrued to you in dribs and drabs over a period of time instead of in a lump sum.

I wonder what the total cost was to millions of businesses that were required to adjust their payroll systems to reflect the lower withholding rates? We, as consumers, ultimately paid that amount in the prices we paid for goods and services without realizing any added value.

 
At 1/19/2011 12:17 PM, Blogger Michael said...

100%, no cheating.

33 has one correct answer, deficit is different from debt. It is not a trick question to test you on your knowledge of the definitions of terms.

Its fun watching the people who give themselves a higher score than the testmakers. The American education system is very good at promoting self-esteem over externally derived feedback. Its fun to see that at work even in angry conservatives.

 

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