… is from pages 119-120 of Thomas Sowell’s monumental 1980 book, Knowledge and Decisions :
[O]ne crucial difference between ballots and prices is that prices convey effective knowledge of inherent constraints, while ballots do not. If I desire a Rolls Royce and simultaneously a normal standard of living, the price tag on the automobile immediately informs, convinces, and virtually coerces me to the conclusion that these two things are inconsistent. But if I believe simultaneously in a large military arsenal, low taxes, a balanced budget, and massive social programs, there are no constraints on my voting that way.
DBx: Indisputably true.
See also Geoffrey Brennan’s and Loren Lomasky’s pioneering 1993 volume, Democracy & Decision , and my GMU Econ colleague Bryan Caplan’s equally pioneering 2007 book, The Myth of the Rational Voter .