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National Review Writer Says Social Workers Shouldn’t Handle Investments

A big jeer to National Review writer Henry Payne for this column about Sen. Deborah Stabenow, D-Mich., who is a social worker.

Stabenow recently introduced the Battery Innovation Act to spur job and economic growth in her state. Better batteries that can store more power could help revive the American economy by boosting production of less polluting electric cars such as the Chevrolet Volt.

However, Payne said Stabenow is not qualified to introduce legislation to direct millions of dollars in government investment in batteries because she is a social worker.

Payne wrote:

“How does a social worker know the future of the most complicated manufacturing product on the planet? How does a lifetime pol who has never worked in the capital markets know that it will “generate billions in private sector economic activity, creating thousands of jobs and making America competitive in advanced battery technologies”?

Sorry Mr. Payne. You are dead wrong. Social workers work every day with jobless and homeless people and have created innovative programs to help get people back on their feet economically.

Social workers have also played a key role in government and politics for decades and continue to do so. For instance Social work icon and first female Labor Secretary Frances Perkins pushed for beneficial government programs during the Great Depression that we now take for granted, including the minimum wage and Social Security.

Social worker Rep. Eldophus “Ed” Towns (D-N.Y.) this year launched a Congressional Social Work Caucus. This group of social workers in Congress is pushing for legislation to benefit the profession, including the Dorothy I. Height and Whitney M. Young, Jr. Social Work Reinvestment Act (SWRA). For more information about the caucus on the National Association of Social Workers Web site click here.

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  1. that’s strange, considering that millions of people turn to Suze Orman for financial advice, and her only formal education was a B.A. in social work.

  2. Let’s not forget what good financial analysts have done for our economy lately…

    These articles that diminish a social work education really annoy me. Just because someone someone is a social worker doesn’t automatically disqualify her/him from making sound financial decisions. Just because someone is a financial adviser means that she/he will provide advice that results in profit. I think this article (and comments below it) reflect a true lack of understand about what social workers do.

    The only worthwhile comment in this article is the one written by Jeff Brown. The one by rich_b juxtaposing social work and missionary work makes you think, but ultimately falls flat on its face.

    I suppose articles like these are to be expected on “America’s most widely read and influential magazine and web site for conservative news, commentary, and opinion.” It’s too bad that in the end, it probably alienates social workers out there who do have a more conservative persuasion.

  3. Furthermore, by Mr. Payne’s logic, if social workers aren’t capable enough to have an opinion on how to handle investments, then what makes him more qualified to judge us so harshly? He’s a cartoon artist!

  4. Brilliant. Exactly what we need. More political stereotyping and denigration of anything we remotely don’t agree with. Just a quick search on the internet establishes that Payne, a political cartoonist turned commentator -now THERE is a career for you –has been agitated by Stabenow’s take on global warming & the environment for years. He’s like a stalker cloaked in the quasi-credibility of a journalist.

    In fairness, it occurs to me that we might actually be much better off letting a social worker handle our investment portfolio than letting a cartoonist draw our image of truth and reality.

    Here is a bit of reality: we elect our congress people and senators to represent us. And those representatives come from a variety of professional and career backgrounds. The very criticism levied here on the back of Senator Stabinaw might as well be spoken of a lawyer, a small business owner, farmer, physician, veteran, journalist even, or whatever other education and experience that ANY particular representative may possess. Jeeez, we have this same lot sorting out a tremendous budget mess, matters of defense spending, Medicare and Medicaid, foreign trade, and the provision of health care for millions. Fortunately, few of them, regardless of political affiliation pursue such policy proposals independent of guidance and support from their constituency and industry experts.

    As posted, Payne’s poke seems an effort not only to denigrate a politician in his home state but also an attempt to besmirch the work of a worthy profession. Sadly, such simple minded attacks as this, sighting NO EVIDENCE of incompetence or impropriety, not only persist, but find firm foothold in the minds of people willing to abdicate mindfulness and let others think for them.

    Being somewhat familiar with the social work profession and its educational standards, it occurs to me that social work might actually be the ideal preparation for service in a representative form of government. Over time, many abuses and exploitations have occurred at the hands of folks claiming the title of or labeled by the uninformed, as social workers. In fact social work today is a highly regulated profession built upon a solid college education, post graduate testing to assure basic competencies, state licensure, and continuing education standards that in some states surpass the requirements for physicians, nurses and lawyers. And while many social workers find employment in the government sector, many more are employed in private, non-profit, and faith based organizations.

    Back to politics now. I did not vote for either my current congressman or senator. But they represent ME in Washington. (Sometimes brilliantly, sometimes not so much.) So I regularly communicate with BOTH. That is my responsibility. And theirs. And yours. And to my congressman’s credit, while serving as a state representative, on a couple of occasions he contacted ME for my professional insights into issues.

    Yes, it discourages me that both of my representatives, while educated as lawyers are in fact career politicians. Neither of them knows as much about Medicare and Medicaid or batteries as they do fund raising. But there you go. I suppose that the author is more comfortable with career politicians. This mystifies me. Would you, do you, must you, rely upon someone whose greatest measure of success is raising millions of dollars in campaign contributions every two years in order to maintain a job that pays $200,000 per year and comes vested with benefits after 4 years?

    It also occurs to me that our financial and investment wizards haven’t been so successful of late, but silly me, I still am investing. Go figure.
    Gary E. Bachman,MSSW, LSCSW, Social Worker

  5. Gee, I guess they did not realize I was only a MSW when Monmouth University handed me my MBA in Management…silly me.

    Jill Carpenter Smith, LSW, ASW-G, ACSW, MBA, FLMI Social Worker

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