With today’s quote, the legend Thomas Sowell will help us to better understand politics and the (often) mysterious decisions made by politicians:
No one will really understand politics until they understand that politicians are not trying to solve our problems. They are trying to solve their own problems– of which getting elected and re-elected are number one and number two. Whatever is number three is far behind.
Source: Townhall, Solving Whose Problem?, by Thomas Sowell
Jon Stewart recently appeared on the Daily Show and went after Congress (Mitch McConnell in particular) for failing to pass legislation meant to help the first responders from 9/11. According to HuffPo (emphasis added):
“Sen. Mitch McConnell doesn’t give a shit about anything but politics,” Stewart said during a lengthy, scathing segment about the act on Monday’s show. “He is the key to getting this done, and so far he has been an enormous obstacle — unwilling to move the bill forward for purely political reasons.”
“For purely political reasons.” In just four words Stewart unintentionally summarized the edifice of public choice theory. Essentially, it’s much easier to understand politics if you approach it from the standpoint that politicians act in their own self-interest (just as the rest of us do), even at times that it’d be nice if they made decisions based on some sort of “common good.”
Almost to illustrate the concept of public choice theory after summarizing it, HuffPo goes on (emphasis added):
The former “Daily Show” host notes the bill has the support to pass in both the House and the Senate, but is running out of time due to maneuvers by the leaders of both chambers. Stewart alleges McConnell removed the Zadroga renewal from a transportation bill it was attached to “when he didn’t get concessions about loosening oil export regulations.”
Would it have been the right thing to do to pass the bill to help out the responders? Yep. Should McConnell be seen as a monstrous creep as a result of this? Yep. But those aren’t the proper questions to be asking. The most important question to ask is: Why did McConnell act in this way? To which Stewart already answered: “Mitch McConnell doesn’t give a shit about anything but politics.”
And here is an opportunity for a moment of clarity among Stewart and his leftist followers. Understand that these decisions made based on nothing but political reasons will only increase as an industry is taken over by government (politicians and bureaucrats). In endorsing a single payer healthcare system, for example, you are handing control of a vital industry over to these very people whose self-interest commands them to make unfavorable political decisions.
The only way to save ourselves from suffering at the hands of politically self-interested Congressmen is to keep each industry as free as possible from the tentacles of government.