Here’s an intriguing study from the Spectrem Group, a consulting group specializing in opinion surveys of affluent individuals.
More than half the millionaires surveyed by the Spectrem Group in July 2012 said the most important skills needed by the next President of the United States are the “financial skills that come from a corporate executive background.”
Only 30% ranked “political skills” as the most important quality, while 15% selected “diplomatic skills” and 7% identified “military skills” as the most in-demand talent needed by the next President.
What I find intriguing about this is that it is in stark contrast to the actual skill-set possessed by most our elected officials. If you look at the professions of previous Presidents, or the professions of our elected officials in general, you’ll see of course that attorneys dominate.
According to Wikipedia, “out of a total of 435 U.S. Representatives and 100 Senators (535 total in Congress), lawyers make up about 43% of Congress. Sixty percent of the U.S. Senate is lawyers. 37.2% of the House of Representatives are lawyers.”
Each year, the Congressional Research Service surveys the occupational background of House and Senate members and while there are many lawyers, public servants, and educators, there are far fewer members with training in finance, accounting, engineering or other scientific or technical backgrounds (other than medicine).
Maybe that doesn’t matter. On the other hand, maybe it does.
Here’s a question for our readers. Given the importance of economic and financial issues in today’s political discussion (e.g. the budget deficit, Social Security reform, financial regulation, the Euro crisis, tax reform, economic competition with China), is it a problem that so few (read: hardly any) of our elected officials have any formalized training or experience in these areas? Do you agree with the millionaires polled by the Spectrem Group? Would we indeed be better off if the next President had experience running a large, multinational corporation?