Most professions in this country certify their members. After rigorous training, for example, accountants who wish to qualify as being “certified,” must pass the CPA exam. Lawyers who practice law are required to pass the bar exam. And so on. But there are two professions that require no certification: politicians and journalists, both of whom have a major influence on our economy and society in general. It is astonishing to me that the people within these two groups are not required to prove their competency at least in part by being formally trained in several primary subjects.
At a very minimum those who obtain the certified professional politicians [CPP] classification should take college level course work in at least two areas of training. First, they should be required to complete successfully courses in basic business finance and accounting as well as public finance. They should also be required to complete courses in basic mathematical statistics, probability theory and sampling methods.
When our political leaders continue to spend money that our government does not have one has to question their rationale. Could it be that they are just ignorant of business fundamentals, especially finance, because of most of them hold degrees in liberal arts and/or law? Oftentimes, you will hear the echoes of seasoned business professionals who suggest that “those in Washington” lack the knowledge to run any type of organization successfully. But what if the CPPs would continue to make the same mistakes? Then they would not be able to plead ignornance. Easier to plead guilty to pandering to the ever increasing number of voters who demand more from our government than they contribute to our economy.
Also politicians with the CPP certification might be more hesitant to say, for example, “the rich don’t pay their fair share of taxes.” Looking at the real numbers even those with the most elementary training in statistics would realize that just the opposite is true. Come to think of it maybe all of our students, even at the high school level, should be required to complete at least one course in mathematical statistics. It is very easy to deceive people who are not trained to look past the rhetoric and to look at the objective facts.
In a future blog, I will highlight why journalists especially need to be certified.