Why no economist PACs?

From Really Curious:

There is much that economists actually agree on. Why don’t we have PACs or other groups emerge that push political solutions which represent common sense agreement on a variety of issues.

There is a selection issue.  There are plenty of issues where economists agree and those views are enacted into policy, in part because special interests do not mind, do not have enough power, or perhaps even on net agree.  Non-agricultural free trade, or rather near-free trade, is one example, the general adoption of capitalism is another.  In those cases the PAC is not really needed.

When economists are not listened to, that often means strong special interests and/or strong voter sentiment stand on the other side of the equation.  The numerous special deductions in the tax code, most of which have no efficiency justification, are examples.

Given such formidable enemies, who would fund an economists’ PAC?  Who would donate?  Why not just donate to a single issue PAC which covers an economist-friendly issue?  Here is a list of the biggest PACS, starting with realtors and beer wholesalers, not ideologues or for that matter sensible policy analysts.  Honeywell is third.  Or if the single issue approach doesn’t excite a potential donor, I would think that more people are drawn to broadly ideological PACs, or perhaps “super PACs,” which would not quite fit with “pro-economist.”

You may know that the original American Economics Association had rather explicit political origins, as well as some religious and arguably even some racist overtones.  It did not evolve into a PAC, and over time it has become something much more professional and geared toward some rather practical, non-political ends.


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