Monday, October 10, 2016

Ten Reasons I Hate Politics and One Reason I Don’t - Part 5

5.  Sure I Take Donations From The Rich, But I’m Really For The Little Guy

Being a politician is like being a tightrope walker. The difference is that most people want to see the politician fall. While tightrope walkers have to balance their bodies, the politicians have to balance a couple of things. On one end of their balancing poles is the money to conduct an effective campaign; on the other ends are the votes they need to get elected. Here’s the problem. Rich people have the kind of money a politician needs for campaigning, but not enough votes to get them elected. The poor and middle class have the votes to get a politician elected, but not enough money to conduct an effective campaign. (Although, I have to hand it Bernie Sanders, who recently ran an effective presidential campaign with only money from the poor and middle class. But this is rare.) So, what are politicians to do?

Well, typically what happens is they take the money from the rich and promise them certain favors, usually covertly, once they get elected. Then, to actually get the votes they need, they pander to the poor and middle class, promising to do great things for them after they take office. In either case they are engaging in a Quid Pro Quo. In the former case they are exchanging favors for money. In the latter case, they are exchanging benefits for votes. So, what’s the problem?

The problem is that a politician does not pay back those rich donors or those poorer voters with their own money. They use taxpayers’ dollars for that. You see, the government does not EARN money by providing a service like a business does. They TAKE money by force via taxes. Now of course the government does provide services to the nation with that money, such as protection via the military or the police, building roads to ease travel across the nation, and having courts where disputes can be settled peaceably. But since the money used to pay for those services is taken by force, we have to be very careful about how many things we task the government to do lest we find ourselves taxed to death.

In a dictatorship, the leader gets to decide what powers he wants and how much to take from the citizenry. But in a Democratic Republic such as the United States of America, the people get to decide those things. This is accomplished in two ways. We have a Constitution that limits the scope of the federal government, and we have the right to freely vote for the people who will represent us in the White House and the Capitol. Theoretically, the people will vote for representatives that will effectively carry out the mandates set forth in the Constitution without going outside its bounds. But because of the tightrope walking politicians engage in, that doesn’t always happen. Some rich people want laws favorable to themselves, even if they are not Constitutional, and are willing to pay for them. Other people like getting “free” stuff from the government and are willing to vote for it. These forces put a lot of pressure on politicians to go outside the bounds of the Constitution to ensure they have the necessary money and votes to get elected. Typically, they will justify their actions by saying, “I can’t do any good for our nation if I don’t get elected.” Thus, a politician starts down a crooked path that only tends to get more crooked the further he or she goes.

So, we need to ask the question: will we citizens continue to vote for politicians that hand out favors and goodies thus requiring them to walk that tightrope, or will we begin to vote for principled politicians who want what’s best for the country as a whole so they can scurry back down to solid ground?

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