Wednesday, 7 November 2012

Unelectable

There are only two problems with politics. Politicians and voters.

You see, democracy is built on the idea of the wisdom of crowds. Take everyone's idea, mix them together and the average outcome should be the best solution. It's not a bad idea because it means that everyone will get a slice of what they wanted but the problem is that no one wants just a slice. Everyone wants their entire cake and to eat it... with cream. So for democracy to work, there needs to be an acceptance that you will rarely get exactly what you want but what you will get is the collective best for the country. That is the kind of maturity that parents try to drill into small children with statements like "You need to share your toys" and so on.

Yeah, it seems that mentality goes flying out of the window with voters. In fact, they actively embrace stupid demands that would only seem reasonable to a toddler. For example, a lot of people seem to think that taxes should be cut, while spending should be increased. Then most of these morons will pretend like they have a full grasp of macro economics, spouting things like "Oh it encourages growth and then we raise more in taxes", without understanding that lower taxes means lower revenue. Therefore, lower spending or higher borrowing is the only solution. Since the former was already a sin of the highest order to most voters, the latter is the choice. This is where the false knowledge of economics is exposed because Government borrowing is just deferred taxes. That is parents applying for a mortgage and the kids paying for it. Terrible money management, truly awful but you know what it is? Good politics because it panders to the generally uneducated crowd that we trust to vote in and empower a select few of us, as our political representatives.

Put simply, voters usually want the unreasonable and unachievable. They want more money in their pockets for the same or less effort. Voters will choose priorities that matter to them as individuals rather than as a nation. Their micro view to the macro nature of Government causes a conflict of purpose that undermines the very effectiveness of what Government is all about, namely running a country.

This problem is compounded by weak politicians. You know what the job description of a politician is? Reapply for your job again in a few years. That job is secured not on how competent you are but on how popular you are. People can tell me that as long as politicians do the right thing, they will vote them back in. Nonsense. If they are popular, they get re-elected. George W Bush got re-elected and does anyone reading this want to argue with me he was the most competent man in the United States for the job of President?  But he was popular at the time. Politicians will tend to find a big group of people, sufficient to get them elected, and then pander to their desires until that group decides not to support you enough.

Here is a thought. What would happen if a politician was brave enough to make those uncomfortable decisions because they were the best choice? They don't exist. You know why? Because they would be unelectable. We wouldn't put them into office because they are the person who tells us to share our toys, that we can't have everything we want and some things will just have to wait. Yet they would be the person who would take decisions that would stabilise our economy, unify our citizens and exalt our nation. The problem is we don't have the politician brave enough or the electorate smart enough to see that day.