Mature parents know that when teaching children they need to establish an understandable and shared goal, and patiently model the desired behavior. Praising a child’s efforts and providing opportunities for practice can help the child succeed. Beating the child with a stick or publicly condemning the child’s character won’t lead to success. Successful entrepreneurs, supervisors and managers have this wisdom but among politicians it’s in bipartisan shortage.
Too many of our elected politicians seem ignorant of how mature parents would channel stakeholder actions into constructive behaviors. Instead they dish out punishment and insults to each other, to segments of the public, to government workers, and especially to any successful American business. They fail to lead effectively and seem clueless as to why.
Both Tea Party and Occupy Wall Street activists attend public meetings because they want other Americans to hear their anger over the country being steered in the wrong direction. The constructive response from a politician is “yes, there are many things to improve – work with me to set us back on the right path.” However, vilifying a handful of whackos who showed up at these voluntary assemblies while dismissing legitimate grievances of the majority attending is an immature response.
For decades, government employment was known to be a low pay – secure job tradeoff. But a few cynical politicians realized they could secure government worker votes by hiking future benefits, a tactic that hides the scam from current budgets. In our protracted economic slump, civil servants are retiring to claim juicy pensions and health care packages. For some states and cities the financial burden is lethal. Vote-buying politicians deserve condemnation. The civil servants should not bear the brunt of the blame.
If you think roads and schools are the key to economic success, try sitting on the curbside outside your local school. Does it deliver value to your customers and economic success for you and your employees? Of course not! Building a successful business normally requires having smart ideas, putting private capital at risk, developing a savvy workforce, working long hours for years and having good luck. A school, road and government grant won’t get you there, despite the class-warfare agenda and abject ignorance of economics among some politicians. Vilifying entrepreneurs and threatening to punish small businesses via more taxes and more regulations does not bring out the best in job-creators.
We must protect ourselves from politicians who blame legislator misdeeds on civilian Americans, who exhort some Americans to resent other Americans, and who threaten financial punishment on Americans who don’t comply with their world view. We deserve to be represented by those who are mature grownups and who quickly master economics, finance, defense, and conflict resolution. We need politicians who represent all Americans despite differences in their outlooks, hopes and skills.
Alan Daley is a retired businessman who follows public policy from a consumer’s perspective.