Political saviors

It is reported that Prime Minister Trudeau was somewhat at a loss when an average Canadian asked him what he’s going to do to fix the economy. This article, written in response to that event, makes a very important point:

Fixing the economy is not the kind of thing any politician can do!

Government has significant power in the lives of its citizens and the private sector, but even the power of government has limits. Controlling the economy through “levers” of various kinds isn’t one of the things that government is capable of effectively doing as the author expertly describes. Read his reasoning at the article linked to above, I won’t steal his thunder. Also consider his suggestion for what government can do in a situation like this.

Given the reality that government is more or less impotent to affect significant economic change, two important points need to be made. First of all, if any politician claims they can fix the economy, they are either really believe they can (and are simply wrong) or they know full well that they cannot and are making such claims because they believe that’s what voters want to hear. Either way, this is probably one politician that does not deserve your vote. Find somebody else who is making somewhat more modest promises; reality-based promises.

Second, we need to have realistic expectations of our politicians. It is so easy to blame politicians for making impossible promises, but it will always be tempting to do so if voters have impossible expectations. If we believe they can fix problems that they are not actually able to fix, then we are suffering from just as much of a delusion as the “political saviors” are suffering from. We need to manage our expectations as well, and express those reasonable expectations to government.

We need to stop asking politicians to try and fix these problems, and start trusting ourselves, our neighbours and our private sector to provide long-term economic growth. Because if we demand these kinds of impossible solutions from government, politicians will do their best to comply and the results of such efforts are consistently disastrous.