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Congress Members Lack Business & Economic Education, Group Says

congresscollegebackgrounds-11082302 Credit: Employment Policies Institute

How many politicians in Washington understand the underlying economic issues about which they are debating? Not many, apparently. That's the finding of the Employment Policies Institute, which did the research as part of its Defeat the Debt project.

According to the report, only 8.4 percent of today's members of Congress majored in an economics-related field and just 13.7 percent majored in a business- or accounting-related field.

The rest (55.7 percent) majored in either government-related fields or the humanities; another 11.5 percent majored in science- or technology-related fields.

"Members of Congress are expected to provide answers for our country's spending and economic crises, but it appears many of them might have difficulty answering Econ 101 questions," said Michael Saltsman, research fellow at the Employment Policies Institute.

“History is full of examples of elected representatives who have performed admirably without a formal academic background in business or economics, and some may have experience running their own business," Saltsman continued. "But in this current climate, with competing claims about how a particular piece of legislation will impact our economy, it's more important than ever that our representatives be familiar with economic basics."


Jeanette Mulvey

Jeanette has been writing about business for more than 20 years. She has written about every kind of entrepreneur from hardware store owners to fashion designers. Previously she was a manager of internal communications for Home Depot. Her journalism career began in local newspapers. She has a degree in American Studies from Rutgers University. Follow her on Twitter @jeanettebnd.