David Colander has produced over the years an impressive series of papers (and books) discussing the economics profession and in particular the education of economists. In his latest report, with KimMarie McGoldrick, he assesses how the economics major fits within a liberal education, with a special emphasis on liberal arts colleges.
For undergraduate studies in the US, having an economics major does not mean that you are an economist. Typically, out of four years of study, little more than a year has actually been devoted to economics. This contrasts with most programs abroad where students concentrate on their major from the get-go. This is a reflection of different attitudes towards education, the US prefering a flexible, general education and, say, Europe favoring a specialized, but more rigid schooling.
Quite obviously, it then becomes difficult to claim that US economics undergraduates have reached their potential. There was simply not enough time to get them there. This is why graduate studies are nowadays essential to become a professional economist. But Colander and McGoldrick do not call for more depth in the major, rather for more breadth. Their point is that a well-rounded undergraduate education should not focus on research questions, but rather teaching questions. The latter are like "is capitalism good?", "should we accept consumer sovereignty?", or "what size should government have?" Faculty are too focussed on their research to address such questions.
I have no problem with addressing these questions in class, but I do not because there is too little time to address them. As Colander and McGoldrick correctly assess, an economics major will, by graduation, have spent less than a third of 1% of his time studying economics. You have barely touched the basics with so little time. I would prefer that high schools did a better coverage of general education so that colleges do not need to spend that much time on it. General education is important, but it should be concentrated in high school. There is no reason only college students should benefit from it.