Mackenzie Weinger at Politico has latched onto a point that I’ve been making for years, now—the educations and backgrounds of our elected officials are inadequate, severally or corporately, for doing their jobs:
Almost 80 percent of lawmakers might need to crack open an economics textbook before the congressional recess ends, a new study on Tuesday suggests.
The vast majority of members lack an academic background in business or economics, according to a study by the Employment Policies Institute, a nonprofit group that takes a conservative stand on fiscal issues. Only 13.7 percent majored in business or accounting, and 8.4 percent have an economics degree.
“How many members of Congress have an academic background that provided them with a basic understanding how the economy works? The answer, it turns out, is not many,” the report concluded.
I’m afraid that the reality is much, much worse than the study finds or is being recognized. I think there’s very little reason to believe that many of our elected officials have taken math beyond high school trig (and that was a generation or so ago). I don’t believe that most of them have any clear idea of the difference between a million and a trillion. I don’t believe that they know the difference between the median and the mean. Not only have they no feel for business or economics, they’re lacking a feel for numbers or the workings of the natural world.
Most of the lawyers we’ve elected to office haven’t even practiced law to any great extent. Check my analysis of the Illinois Congressional delegation for reference. By and large our Congressmen and Senators are career politicians and apparatchiks. We shouldn’t be surprised that they know little else and treat their jobs as lifetime appointments. It’s really all they know.