Well that’s what I thought when I signed up to take an entry level economics class this summer. I thought, “Ok, this fulfills a requirement for your minor. It will involve math…yes I know MATH! Don’t panic, you can get through this.”
What I didn’t expect was to find the subject fascinating, or that a lot of what I and many others have thought about things such as free trade, deficits, supply and demand, tariffs and quotas were simply wrong. I may end up taking an additional course in Economics if I have enough electives to play with before I graduate. This class has also brought into focus, at least to me, that many in politics either don’t understand economics in a society like ours, or they do and use our ignorance against us to enact their policies. I suspect more of the former and less of the latter, but the latter probably comes into play now and then.
I remember way back in high school, having to have some econ as part of a business course I took. I didn’t get most of it back then, but I do remember the teacher stating that Economics seeks a balance between to extremes, that it is a pure form of cause and effect in its attempt to reach a balance. Seeing how economic factors have swung back and forth over my life time, I do agree. I, like so many of us never understood the mechanics behind it. I am starting to get more of a glimpse of how things work. What I have learned is how ignorant I’ve been, and that the very things we’ve been told are bad for our country really aren’t, things such as trade deficits and others that have more positive long term effects then negative ones. Sadly we don’t hear the benefits of such economic factors from our news sources or from that many politicians.
Some time ago, I decided to give less authority to media outlets when it came to their reports on political or economics topics. Ok. I simply stopped watching television news, especially national news outlets. I do use a couple of online websites and pretty much use them to check in to see if the world has blown up today. If it hasn’t, I may glance at a few stories, then go on. It bothers me how opinion oriented media has become, and how misinformed those that seek to inform us can be. Politicians have long been that way, and its getting worse.
I have always found politics better then any reality television show ever devised but I also find it quite frustrating because I suspect that those we elect aren’t as in the know about the larger impact of their decisions as they want us to believe. I also wonder if they stop to think, “What do my voters really want?” It’s like they’ve already decided, and expect us to simply go along. Sorry guys, I’m one of those people who will dig in her heels and say “wait just a minute, what about this?”
Maybe we should start requiring all people who hold political office, especially if they will be making policy regarding economics, to take and pass with no less then a B a basic college level economics course. If they took it way back in high school, or as a college Freshman, a refresher course to see if they still understand the basic rudiments would be required. I’d also like to see politicians take basic Sociology as well, but I am probably pushing things there.