You wouldn’t get a window-cleaner to fix your boiler. You wouldn’t get a graphic designer to tune your piano. So why do we let politicians try to fix our economy? In most cases, they’re completely unqualified!
Economics is a complicated field of study. Intelligent men and women spend years studying the theories, and still admit that there’s more to learn. Most of us don’t fully understand the complex interplay between markets, traders, securities, currencies, industries and nations. But we do trust that those who make the key decisions have a better understanding.
Politicians are not automatically economic experts
Do they, though? How many of the top politicians in Britain or America are trained economists? Not many. Yet they vote on important issues such as the debt ceiling, often basing their votes on… what? A hunch? Something they’ve read? Ideology? Something they’ve been told?
In case you think this is an anti-Republican rant, it really isn’t. Both Republicans and Democrats are equally at fault here. The likes of Michele Bachmann, Nancy Pelosi, Mitt Romney and Barack Obama are all trained and experieced in certain areas. But are they economists? No. So why are they making economic decisions of such huge importance?
Economists should have a central role
I’m not arguing that economists are perfect, or that they would always make the right decision. But they might have a better shot at it. If we continue to put such important economic decisions in the hands of people whose expertise is in other matters, we are denying the value of economic analysis. Economists should not be reduced to fringe characters, shouting from the sidelines and being interviewed on TV about whether politicians are making the right decisions.
We need an economic panel akin to the Supreme Court, although it would have to be closer to the spirit of the Supreme Court than the reality of that soured institution’s current disgraceful decline. An economic panel could make the really important economic decisions. Does that sound undemocratic? It need not be. But it could be the only way we can avoid having rank amateurs marching into political office and thinking that their time managing a chicken farm in Iowa qualifies them to make massive economic decisions that affect the fate of the world.