Wednesday, May 05, 2010

Politicians since Roman times have overpromised

According to this article, since Roman times politicians have been over-promising benefits to win the favor of the voters. Problem is, once elected they find they cannot keep their promises.  But by then it is too late, they are already in office.  What advice did the spinmeisters of Roman days give to politicians?  Say anything that sounds good just to get elected.

The only way to put a brake on BS politicians is to require them to be honest or lose their eligibility to serve.  I measure their honesty primarily by whether they control spending. There is an incentive to promise, to spend to keep the promises -- but none to pay for the promises!

Here's the problem: you may have the right to vote for whoever you think may best serve your interests. But I want to restrict your right to vote for somebody who takes money out of my pocket. In other words, I have the right to protect myself from your self-interest. Entrenched politicians too often stay in power by over-promising and they are not about to voluntarily give up on a working formula.

How many times have you heard someone lauding a politician as a "public servant"?  My former sister-in-law remarried a politician who recently retired.  His retirement announcement was a boastful list of all he had done in his career.  Good stuff, but he did not pay for these programs himself.  No mention was made of the taxpayers who paid for the good programs he championed.  They are the true heroes.  

His programs may very well have been successful (I certainly hope so -- they dealt with child advocacy). But how many programs meant to solve an awful problem remain intractable, unsolved by the government programs meant to eliminate them? The politicians can still claim credit since they made an effort to solve the problem, but how many retiring politicians are honest enough to say, "I did my best, but I failed.  Despite our best efforts, the problems persist."  As Jesus said, "The poor will be with you always."  There's an honest guy and look what they did to him!

That's why I propose to marry term limits to a balanced budget requirement. You can elect whomever you please, but if he does not vote to balance the budget, he loses his vote in Congress. In other words, you lose your voting rights in Congress if you elect a representative that steals my money.

In time, the most seasoned, powerful and senior people will also be those who squeeze every dime of taxpayer money.

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