Thursday, January 12, 2012

But Lawyers Are?

I will leave it up to the inimitable Steven Landsburg (just picked up his latest book) to address the bad economics in this Paul Krugman post, but I was most interested in the anti-business bias.

A brief thought on something I’ll try to expand on later. Leaving aside all the questions about what Mitt Romney did or didn’t do at Bain — and about his self-aggrandizing double standard — there’s an even broader question: why does anyone believe that success in business qualified someone to make economic policy?
For the fact is that running a business is nothing at all like making macro policy. The key point about macroeconomics is the pervasiveness of feedback loops due to the fact that workers are also consumers. No business sells a large fraction of its output to its own workers; even very small countries sell around two-thirds of their output to themselves, because that much is non-tradable services.

Well first of all, nobody claims that businessmen are experts on macroeonomics and monetary policy, but in general they at least have an idea in how to lead large organizations and how the economy works.  Right now we have a government run by lawyers.  Over half of the Senate are lawyers, every Democratic presidential and vice presidential candidate since 1984 has gone to law school (Al Gore, the Nobel Prize winning intellectual of the left and creator of the Internet dropped out, shortly after flunking out of law school).

So having someone with some experience in the real world, outside of government or the court room, is not a bad thing.  There aren't really any good jobs to prepare for being president anyway, aside from being a governor, which is why most presidents are former governors.  A first term senator getting elected to the presidency is actually quite rare, for a reason.  Romney being both a governor and successful businessman certainly demonstrates more experience than our current part-time law professor/community organizer in chief.  Now you can definitely make some arguments against voting for him based on policy, but that is another topic.

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