Why Politicians are Bad for Politics

Because it’s hard for a person who wants to get elected to tell the people doing the electing that they need to suck it up.

While I’ve only been politically jazzed for 2-3 years now I have always wondered how “other people” vote.  You know, do they vote for what’s good for them and them only or do they vote for the better of “the system”.

For example, if a road is going to run through my backyard means I lose my house but it’s good for the community, should I vote for it or against it.

Can you imagine how different a father would discipline his children if they could somehow “vote him out”?  The only reason we successfully raise our children is that we create rules that they otherwise would not generally abide.

Same for politics.

Even though we know that if we were designing a system, we would build it looking like this, we can’t in a political environment because the people who are personally impacted may vote the guys out.

This explains why social programs are hard to remove once enacted and passed into law.

Just look at the negative press people get when they even suggest that we end or privatize Social Security.

Which is why we need to fight the good fight with data and numbers.

For example, it is my belief that people who lose their job will take longer to find a new job if they’re collecting unemployment.  Or, more specifically, they will look REALLY hard for a job when their benefits run out.  Therefore, extending benefits doesn’t HELP the problem, it HURTS it.  It simply tends to keep people unemployed longer.

Now, can we demonstrate that?  Denmark seems to think so:

Consider this 2009 chart from Denmark’s Labor Market Commission:

It shows that between 2005-7, the number of people who got jobs during their four years of benefits — the green line – rose at the beginning before dropping sharply, then spiked as benefits were about to run out, only to plummet after. The red line shows similar behavior in 1998, when Denmark’s benefit period was five years.

“It shows that people are not seeking all the jobs they could get, but just the jobs they would like to have,” said Steen Bocian, chief economist at Danske Bank.

Look at the chart.  The red line shows how people began to get jobs as the closed in on the 5 year unemployment limit.  And as soon as that 5 year mark hit, the number dropped sharply.  The green line shows the same thing except here the spike is at the 4 year mark.

Guess why the spike moved?

The benefits lasted only 4 years instead of 5.

If you pay people not to work you should NOT be surprised that you find people tend not to work.

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