The Daily Show Illustrates the Shortsightedness of Government

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Arizona State Capitol Building for Sale
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The above video clip from The Daily Show, while very humorous, illustrates a fundamental problem of government: shortsightedness.

In this example, the State of Arizona is offering to sell the state capitol for $735 million and rent it back from the new owners.

“What happens next year when you have to pay rent?” asks Daily Show correspondent Jason Jones.

Sen. Lopez responds that the state government is more concerned about this year…they will deal with the next year’s budget (and subsequent budget) shortfalls when the time comes.

If this doesn’t illustrate the shortsightedness of government (at all levels), I don’t know what does. Our government officials do not look far beyond the immediate future (i.e. the next election). They don’t worry about the insolvency of Social Security, Medicare, Medicaid, the long term financial difficulties of the bailouts etc, they will worry about those problems (which they created and will also blame on the free market, big business, or lack of regulation) when they can no longer pretend the problem doesn’t exist. If they are lucky, the other party will be in power by that time and the American public will turn its anger against that party by voting them out.

What the American public needs to understand is that whether the blue team or the red team controls the levers of power, this shortsighted mentality is standard operating procedure for both. They are not interested in solving long term problems but trying to appear as though they are.

Politicians will not be accountable for their deceitful actions until we, the people, hold them accountable.

…I won’t hold my breath.

  • Alexei

    Yeah, we will hold the government accountable! We will make sure that it implements only good policies, because the majority of people knows well what they are, and only politicians don’t… who said ‘elites’?

  • Spoffin

    I do understand the criticism, but, sometimes you DO pawn the wedding ring and then buy it back when your paycheck comes in.

    Also, what exactly do you mean by “hold them accountable” that is NOT voting for someone else?

  • Alexei

    I think you misunderstood me. What I meant is that most people are incompetent in political theory, economics etc., that’s why government really being accountable to the people is a bad idea.

    I’ll delve into details a bit, although I think you probably need no instruction in such matters :)

    Instead of government being directly accountable to the people, in the most successful political systems there are elites that DO hold public politicians accountable and who generally are competent enough to direct the country in the right direction.

    The people in republics, by contrast, play a rather passive, but important role of holding the keys to liberty, as Machiavelli put it in ‘Discourses on Livy’. They aren’t supposed to play an active role in ruling the country (indeed, in the most successful political systems, there are ‘social elevators’ aimed at promoting people capable of doing that to the elite), but they are supposed to oppose any effort of subverting the system, thus making it stable and able to gradually evolve to accommodate to the changing realities.

  • Yui

    What an incredibly stupid idea. Basically they’re planning on selling the building for 700 million, to then pay 1500 million dollars in the next 20 years to use the buildings they own at the moment?

    Isn’t it really plain to see that all this will do is set back their finances even more? I mean, come on, even a 10-year-old can see why this idea is stupid and hurtful to the state..

    Someone fire these people, please..

  • Laura

    I just sent this to for an answer- any comments? Maybe Pres. Obama will call me up. I have caller ID- I would answer. :) I have to post this in two parts because it is too long- maybe three parts.

    I was wondering why non-profit health insurance companies are not being looked at as possible solutions for revamping the health care insurance industry to make it more efficient. I am sure someone has thought of this and there must be reasons we are not doing it, but I thought I would ask the question anyway.

    It seems non-profit insurance companies could compete with private insurance companies if they could get enough providers and enough insurees, and would probably have lower premiums, pay out better for what was needed, and would put the money in the right places because they could only use a certain amount for overhead and salaries. What is it that I am not seeing here?

    Thanks for listening.

    Instructor of Philosophy
    Laura T