Politicians Should Stay Away From Economics
I have wondered, for a long time, about public views on economics. I wonder that they are so backwards, and I wonder why there are so backwards. It seems to me that, for the most part, people stay with what they know. I don't argue physics with the physicists, linguistics with the linguists, or philosophy with the philosophers. I expect that they know their respective subjects better than I, and if I want to disagree with them I had better educate myself first.
I studied economics in college. That doesn't make me an expert, but I have a reasonably good idea of what I am talking about. Economics unfortunately brands me with the business people, but much to the surprise of many, economics is predominantly a descriptive behavioral science. We make fun of the vocational Bsuiness students as much or more than most because we are so different, yet seen as the same. Finance is about money, economics is about human behavior. Since the study of how we spend money seems to be the most lucrative and demanded work of economists, it is what others see the most.
Back to my original point. Why does everyone seem to have an opinion on economics? One answer is: because it affects us all, we all ought to be involved. My counter argument is as follows. Everything that we study matters, if it didn't matter no one would study it. Anyone who thinks that literary theory doesn't matter wouldn't care if deconstruction is taught as the primary means of interpreting literature in elementary school. Anyone who thinks high level physics doesn't affect us needs some serious brain food. If all study affects everyone (or at least affects all those purporting some economic knowledge), why don't they have as vociferous opinions on everything else?
I really don't know a good answer to this. Perhaps people perceive economics as a 'soft' science (which it may be), and as such my opinion is as good as the opinion of anyone else. That is baloney, take any econ class and suggest a poorly-thought-out theory. The professor will tell you exactly why your theory isn't the case. If you insist it is a matter of preference, he/she may take the time to construct a graph, a mathematical model, or do some econometrics to show that your theory is demonstrably untrue. However demonstrably false opinions are rampant in the public view of econ, and though they can be (and often are) refuted this doesn't seem to slow their propagation.
Adam Smith never said that profit was the end all motivation. He said that the drive for profit drives efficiency. Efficiency increases welfare, we will have more disposable income to give to the United Way, or buy an XBox. He was a dedicated moralist who saw economics as a way to increase welfare, not "strangle some small developing nation." He was a descriptivist not a prescriptivist.
The same kind of misinformation goes on with all the emphasis on sweatshops. Are the conditions horrid? Certainly. Should we encourage better conditions? Without a doubt.  But as Themla Young said "foreign factories… shouldn't be [shutdown]. When companies shut down… many workers are forced into even less desirable situations." Boycotting Thai goods hurts the Thai people, not Nike. No one addressed the issue of preference. Developing nations seem to prefer to work in sweatshops to other work.  Americans, though we would like to dictate to them our morals, certainly prefer cheap sweatshop goods to expensive ones. 
Perhaps you are wondering when I'll get to my point. I was going to call for changes in linguistics; I would try to get more than one linguist. Linguistics is something I know next to nothing about (short of taking a single 200 level class), so I haven't formed ill-advised (or otherwise) opinions, I would need to seek out experts. Were I to develop incorrect linguistic opinions they would probably be as caustic and misinformed to linguists as what most politicians say about economics is to me.