Tuesday, June 16, 2009

Politics and The Law of Unintended Consequences

Politics are complicated. Our country is a large, very complex system of services, mandates, checks and balances, power struggles, perceptions, economics, etc. No matter what the election time commercials may say, there are not easy, 30 second soundbite answers to the country's problems. Just look at Obama's problems.

A couple of months ago, President Obama was pushing to help homeowners refinance their mortgages. This was supposed to help with the housing crunch. Well here it is a few months later and has it helped? As near as anybody can tell, there's been no effect. He gave boatloads of money to GM and Chrysler - around $60 billion I think (which is about $200 from every man, woman, and child in the USA) - to keep them from going bankrupt. Didn't work out so well. He got a stimulus bill passed in order to prevent unemployment from going over 8.4% - now it's at 9.4% and still rising. And that's just the beginning.

Now I'm not saying that Obama is an idiot. I don't agree with his ideology, but I think he's a very smart man. However, these failures underscore that fact that there aren't any simple answers out there. Even the ones that look simple, end up being far more complex than we originally thought.

Arizona politics is no different. I'm a bit of a right leaning moderate as far a politics are concerned and I think that Governor Brewer's balanced plan sounds good on its face. I don't know enough about it to make a deep evaluation but I think that by both raising taxes (temporarily) and making cuts we can keep the government operating at a stable level and qualify for stimulus money that will help even more. To me, that seems like a good balanced approach. So, am I right or will there be unintended consequences?

The more conservative folks out there point to a study saying that if we raise taxes, we'll lose about 1,500 more jobs. Is that correct? I don't know. However, if we simply cut everything out of the government, how many jobs will be lost? How many jobs are directly and indirectly dependent on the government? Once again, I don't know, but it makes you stop and think about the law of unintended consequences.

My point is that there are very few simple solutions out there. We can't simply assume that because we don't see any problems that there aren't any problems. I think this is why compromise is so important. I think that both liberal and conservative ideologies are based on logic and are trying to steer out country towards prosperity - just in radically different ways. By coming together and compromising, I would hope that fallacies in both the conservative and the liberal ideologies can be exposed and that we'll get a better, more workable solution.

Of course, in real life it's never that easy...

1 comment:

Kristina said...

I feel that a lot of our problems stem from people's secret agendas. I don't believe the budget cuts right now are based on budget. People talk about "smaller government" but smaller than what? We have a significantly smaller government and budget than other states our size