It would seem that the ideal government should endeavor for low taxes, and engage in serious debates on just what items are actually worthy of support. Indeed, you would think that every politician would run on a platform of lowering taxes, but almost none of them do.
Instead, whether Republican or Democrat, the vast majority of them continue to push expensive and mostly useless programs, supposedly designed to solve the crisis du jour. Don’t you find it ironic that a politician can be considered “conservative” as long as he wastes tax dollars on the military?
These days, there really is a full-blown health crisis, and it’s even more serious than a few people getting overexposed to formaldehyde in FEMA trailers. I’m referring to the obesity epidemic, that affects more than 50% of Americans. While the Feds are funding studies, and certain limited educational programs, the efforts fall well short of the coordinated national effort that should be launched.
Compare this to the incredibly overblown homeland security activities, which are little more than a giant boondoggle. Think about the number of people affected.
The events of 9/11 were tragic, of course, but affected only a tiny percentage of Americans. Overarching security at airports and other high-risk facilities just means that the terrorists won. In brutal fact, Americans have been far more affected by homeland security, than by the actual events of 9/11.
To be sure, there have been no sensational follow-up events, but there has also been a pattern of not calling obvious mini-terror events “terrorism.” Medical historians would liken this to the amazing disappearance of polio cases after the Salk and Sabin vaccines—and the concurrent increase in diagnoses of meningitis.
Assuming the Feds should spend money on public health, might it not be worthwhile to attack the obesity epidemic, considering that it affects 150 million people? The Campaign to End Obesity has a plan that makes a lot of sense, and should be getting more notice.
However, people tend to react much more strongly to sudden and sensationalistic events, rather than disturbing trends that build up slowly. Moreover, people tend to react far more emotionally to sudden rather than slow death, or spectacular death, rather than mundane death.
How is the death of a Twin Towers occupant any more tragic than a car accident that could have taken the life of an otherwise similar executive making his daily commute on the very same day?
Sensationalism and emotionalism are what drives media and politics. That’s why the pols are forever talking about crises, which require urgent action—except when they don’t, such as the current summer recess of Congress that occurred without an energy policy.
If there really were political leadership, attention would be far more focused on a rational discussion of what we should be spending our money on, as well as taking a hard look at the success of failure of current programs, rather than just trying to extract ever more dollars to pursue pork projects. But, the situation will only change with term limits. Just don’t hold your breath waiting for that.