Political Suicide is the crux of the problem as to why the government will never use motivational, commonsense or incentive based policies to resolve our issues. A good example of political suicide is this blog. If my intentions were to get elected to a public office, I would probably not win an election if potential voters read this blog. The over sensitive public would view this text as being discriminatory against the poor, minorities, obese people, ignorant people, and so on. That is why our government cannot stop social programs that benefit the economically disadvantaged because it is political suicide. They would lose the vote of any economically disadvantaged people if the government forced them to work for their welfare checks. They would also lose the vote of potentially one-third of the obese public if they penalized them with higher insurance premiums or taxed the food they desire. Political suicide is the dilemma that sits between our country and resolving our sensitive political issues.
One reason I failed to receive any managerial positions later in my career was because I committed political suicide. I was unconventional and went against conformity. I stated my beliefs and opinions that conflicted with organizational and corporate policies. I spoke out against concepts when I did not agree with them. Hence, I did not have many friends in high places in the company. However, I would not change my attitude or personality for any managerial job. I would not brown nose and conform for a job, nor would I lower my standards or scruples for corporate advancement. I could not live with myself for becoming a liar and an individual whom I despise. Unfortunately, these are the personalities and characteristics of many corporate and political leaders. That is the problem today. In order to prevent political suicide, politicians lie, cheat, sit on the fence, brown nose, and do whatever it takes to win an election. They do whatever it takes to avoid upsetting or offending anyone that could cost them votes. As long as we have politicians who lack the “balls” to say exactly what they believe, nothing is going to be resolved. This is another reason why term limits may be a good thing. During a politician’s final term, they may actually grow the “balls” to do the right thing. After all, it does not matter if they offend anyone because they are not going to be up for reelection.
There is one example that may give us a glimmer of hope to overcome political suicide and fix our national problems. The United States over the years has discriminated against tobacco use and smokers. Obama continues to meddle in this industry. We have been able to overcome the smoking stigma and drastically reduced the number of users by over fifty percent the past two decades. If our local, state, and national government can eliminate smoking in our restaurants, work places, and in most public areas, then why can’t we do the same thing to reform entitlements? Governments fought large tobacco firms such as Phillip Morris to reduce the number of smokers. The government used incentives such as taxing tobacco heavily to influence people not buy or use cigarettes. What makes the “cigarette example” so unique that our government will not follow suit to use a similar approach to reform entitlements? First, the demographics of those people that smoked cigarettes were fairly diverse, unlike many entitlements where minority groups and the elderly dominate the demographics of people using these programs. Secondly, smoking in public areas was proved to not only affect the health of those smoking, but second hand smoke was affecting the health of other non-smokers. The same cannot be said about people accepting handouts, but there is no question accepting handouts is contagious and growing out of control – like smoking cigarettes decades ago. For these reasons, today, most people are okay with the government sticking it to the cigarette companies. In other words, it is popular policy. In order to make changes to the entitlement programs we must overcome the stigma that corporations are evil and the government is good. I am not a fan of government interference in the private sector, but my point is if the government can take on tobacco companies they can take on Medicare, Medicaid, and Social Security. Republican representative Paul Ryan is the first politician in years to propose changes to these entitlement programs to make them solvent. But I am not holding my breath that Democrats will offer any solutions to the problem.
My Book: Is America Dying? (Barnes and Noble, Amazon.com)