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Trying to understand the entirety of the government is an impossible task for the average person. Even people who do this for a living often struggle with it. Even if the average person slightly increases their degree of knowledge, compared to an expert they will still be hopelessly lost.

To account for this, I recommend focusing on one or two areas and getting to know them pretty well rather than the whole picture. You should evaluate politicians not based on their degree of agreement with you, but based on their degree of understanding of policy. US Senators will often argue against a litmus test for Supreme Court nominees, and yet that is exactly what we do to politicans who are running for office. Political office is the only kind of job where I've seen this done. To get the best policy, we need the most knowledgeable policy makers; not the people who agree with your opinion (which is likely insufficiently informed).

One great thing to evaluate them on is general scientific principles. When they talk, do you get the sense that they understand introductory statistics and the distinction between good data and bad data? This can sometimes be difficult as politicans have to carefully choose their words for a broad audience. Did he say that because he believes it or because he thinks it's what he needs to say?

Asking the public to micromanage policy is a fool's errand, and is a primary cause of bad policy.






Some questions as examples of the complexity of politics:

Macroeconomics
What does MV=PQ stand for? Please explain.

Health Care
Laws banning insurance from discriminating based on pre-existing conditions such as the ACA are generally said to require two other changes to be enacted simultaneously to prevent major problems. What are those two changes and how do they interact?

Price Controls
What happens when prices are fixed above market equilibrium? Why is the minimum wage often considered by liberal economists to be an exception?

Education
What is the PISA?

Immigration
Immigrants compete with natives for jobs, yet empirical studies have found they are often found to make natives the same or often slightly better off in terms of economic standing. Why?

Abortion
Roughly how developed is a fetus at 9 weeks? 16 weeks?

Negotiation
If 7 people are deciding on a policy proposal, and they are evenly distributed from left-right where Person A is the most liberal and Person G is the most conservative, and 4 votes are required for the proposal to pass, which person has the most bargaining power? If Person C wishes to increase his bargaining power, is it better for him to become more liberal or more conservative? What about Person A?

Political Science
What are the 3 branches of the Iron Triangle?

Public Opinion (US based)
Rank these federal spending programs in order of popularity:
Foreign Aid
Social Security
Education
Defense
67%
FrameBenignly
stars0
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