Yup. A Government Aptitude Test. A Wonderlic for Bureaucrats, Congressmen, and even the White House.
Serving in government should require more than good oratory, the ability to run a campaign, or just being someone’s brother-in-law. Just think that there would be more institutional competence as the scores could be used to assess knowledge and problem solving skills. They could have an entire section alone on unintended consquences.
We have aptitude tests for just about everything else…why not for Government? Corzine could lead the charge as it would benefit Educational Testing Service, a company with a significant presence in NJ.
Depending upon the department and job, the test could have relevant sections and specific questions. Other countries require certifications for many civil service jobs.
How about this for example:
SELECTED QUESTIONS FROM THE PRESIDENTIAL GAT
Section 1. World Affairs
1. The Israelis and Palestinians have not been able to establish a two state solutions since 1948 because:
A. The Palestinians do not have the financial infrastructure in place and need massive amounts of aid.
B. The Israelis are the manifestation of Satan and are wrong at all times.
C. Nobody has had a Sharpie handy to draw a line on a map.
D. Both sides would prefer that their opposite didn’t exist, but the Palestinians have made more attempts at making their preference come true.
Section 2. Economic Theory
1. If taxes are raised, do individuals’ incomes go up?
A. Yes, if they are my one of my relatives.
B. Yes, if they move to a tax friendlier state/country.
C. Yes, because when rich people pay their “fair share” they will pay more to others since they see how much better it makes them feel.
D. No, as people have less disposable income and will then spend less in the economy, especially on discretionary items, including cleaning ladies, landscapers, automobiles and vacations.
2. The legislature decides to pass a bill that enables people who work in just about any business to go on six weeks paid leave without requiring any proof of documentation. What will the most likely consequence of this legislation be?
A. Businesses will relocate to your state as they will be able to hold onto happy employees that can take six weeks off to go take care of Grandma.
B. Businesses will be able to absorb the loss of the worker with no problem, since the worker pretty much surfed the web on company time anyway.
C. Workers will be more productive as they need not worry about their sick relative while at work.
D. Workers will see this as a six week “vacation” program and a significant minority of workers will abuse the paid leave, which will offset the positive benefit of workers who have a genuine need taking the paid leave.
Section 3. Ethics
1. If a bondholder of a company’s debt has a contract that says they get paid before preferred stockholders and common stockholders, and the company is about to go bankrupt, is it ethical to:
A. Use taxpayer money to inject cash BEFORE bankruptcy and not as part of the reorganization plan, so that it ensures that the money is lost.
B. Ignore contractual terms and threaten bondholders with public humiliation and exposure if the contracts are honored.
C. Ignore corporate by-laws and the board of directors in enacting sweeping changes that will not affect or avert the impending bankruptcy.
D. Let the company declare Chapter 11 bankruptcy and follow the prescribed guidelines, which will determine an equitable settlement for the bondholders relative to the assets available and their position as creditors.
Section 4. Constitution & Laws
In order to amend the Constitution you need to do the following EXCEPT:
A. Propose the Amendment.
B. Get the US House and Senate to vote for the amendment with 2/3 majority.
C. Get 75% of the states’ legislatures to approve the amendment.
D. Say “I won” and do whatever the hell you please.
Section 5. History
Here is an essay question: Describe the commonalities of the following leaders: Salvador Allende (Chile), Erich Honecker (East Germany), Nicolae Ceauşescu (Romainia) and Viktor Yanukovych (Ukraine). Compare three of the following at the beginning of their rule versus the end: GDP per capita, infant mortality, international relations, emissions of pollutants, imports/exports and transition of power.
Please note: This is meant as a joke as far as the questions are concerned. But a Government Aptitude Test would be a great idea. I wonder what Corzine’s GAT score would be. Oh, and the “correct” answers are “D”.