"I'm not going to put my lot in with economists."Of course economists are a pretty small demographic, and you can always pick up votes in the U.S. by being anti-intellectual (cough, George Bush, cough).
But it's not the pandering that bothers me. It's the pretense that economists would make people's lives worse, and that ignoring economic advice is the best way to help people. Because it's material well-being that she's talking about, and that's what economics is about--understanding how we can enhance humanity's material well-being. To wholly ignore economists when that is the question is no different than to ignore physicians when the subject is one's physical health, and to "put your lot in" with witchdoctors, herbalists, and faith-healers.
It's snake-oil economics, and it makes me angry because she will continue to blithely assume she cares more about people than economists do, while she actually harms them more than any reputable economist ever would.
She should take the time to look at Adam Smith, who showed us that free markets are for the benefit of consumers, not businessmen, or Alfred Marshall, who clearly saw that studying economics was the path to improving people's lives. As Todd Buchholz quotes Marshall in New Ideas from Dead Economists:
From metaphysics I went to Ethics, and thought that the justification of the existing condition of society was not easy. A friend, who had read a great deal of what are now called the Moral Sciences, constantly said, "Ah! If you understood Political Economy you would not say that. So I read Mill's Political Economy and got much excited about it. [Then] I visited the poorest quarters of several cities and walked through one street after another, looking at the faces of the poorest people. Next, I resolved to make as thorough a study as I could of Political Economy."I began studying political science because I thought that was the science of human well-being. Later I realized it is actually the science of human conflict, and important and interesting in it's own right, but only when it is securely intertwined with economics--when it is political economy--can it honestly be about the well-being of humanity.
If only Hillary, or any of our presidential candidates, understood that.