What elected leaders know

A campaign is underway by the conservative-leaning Employment Policies Institute to raise awareness about debt reduction. The group’s Defeat the Debt effort says that of all members of congress, “over three-quarters lack an academic background in business or economics.” The number is based on an examination of college degrees held by members of the U.S. Congress.

college_background_cong.jpg

Is this the educational background you’d like to see of congress?

  • lucy

    34.8% studied Law and Government out of the total 100% of your half eaten bagel graph. Does that mean that the majority of our leaders are ex-lawyers?

  • lucy

    and I am using that term ‘lawyers’ loosely.

  • lucy

    and I am using that term ‘leaders’ loosely, too.

  • Alison

    It doesn’t seem like a bad thing to me that there is plenty of law expertise (lawyers) given their primary responsibility is to create laws.

    The overall makeup seems reasonable to me. In a perfect world they would all have backgrounds in a number of the areas listed. As a scientist, I was glad to see some representation from the technical community, given the scientific debates that occur.

    Would more economists in the mix help? Maybe. But from what I’ve heard, if you add another 20 economists you add another 40 opinions.

    I wonder how many were trained as social workers? Psychologists who worked with patients with PTSD? We might solve some problems with more economists, but it is interesting to speculate about influence from other professions as well.

  • Derrick Schluck

    With the Tea Party flavor it seems that having an education isn’t valued by the electorate.

    Lately a Harvard Law or Ivy League education is a basis for an attack against a candidate. I much rather elect an public official who is a jerk, but a smart jerk then someone I would like to share a beer with.

    Earlier this year, I broke down the MN House and Senate, it was very interesting. Elected officials typically had a J.D. and were well educated or had vitually no formal education and tauted their business experience, it was even more interesting when broken down by party and gender.

  • lucy

    //It doesn’t seem like a bad thing to me that there is plenty of law expertise (lawyers) given their primary responsibility is to create laws.

    interesting Alison. L: )

    While, lawyers are practicing Law, they look for loop holes and means of taking law out of context in order to win their cases; politicians who were ex-lawyers create the laws to be stretched in the future.

  • Heather

    The problem with arguing that government should be the province of business people is that the purpost of government is not the same as the purpose of business. It’s important to HAVE a mix.

    I have no objection to the makeup presented above, but I do have a problem with the EPI’s framing of other areas of expertise as a “lack”.

  • Alison

    \\politicians who were ex-lawyers create the laws to be stretched in the future.

    Or perhaps they have the experience to try to write laws in such a way that they are difficult to stretch.

    BTW, please reserve your insulting emoticons for another blog, lucy.

  • lucy

    //BTW, please reserve your insulting emoticons for another blog, lucy.

    I am puzzled with your comment. Why is it insulting?

    Are you seeing a snake or are you seeing a rope?

  • B Joe

    It would be nice if they had some more economists, though anyone advancing “conservative” economic policies probably wouldn’t like the actions taken by someone who actually understands economic principles beyond tea party bromides.

  • Pretoria

    ///It’s important to HAVE a mix.

    I have no objection to the makeup presented above, but I do have a problem with the EPI’s framing of other areas of expertise as a “lack”.///

    Yes, this current mix is functioning well with its top-heavy government and law backgrounds.

  • S. Expla

    I think Heather touched on this, but it bears further mentioning; business and government are not created for the same purpose. Balancing a budget or managing debt might be skills one develops in business, but much of the purpose of going into business is to make a profit. To go a bit further, it was people trained in business and finance that led the world into an economic crash in 2008. Businesses can economize, when necessary, but they can also be prone to rampant speculation. The skills of these people have value, but it is foolish and shortsighted to assume they hold the only, or necessarily the best, answers.