Often it is claimed that politicians are difficult to figure out, but is that really true? I would have to claim that politicians are very much like dogs and just as there are different personalities and actions with dogs, there are the same differences among politicians and they can be comparable. So, let’s try and see how dogs and politicians of different stripes are similar except for different reasons and motivations. First we will compare some general similarities and then look at the different types. Have you ever watched a dog when it is first released in a new environment? They immediately run wildly in all directions sniffing everything to get an idea what is where and make a general sniff map categorizing areas with interesting aromas that will require more intent sniffing in the future once the general idea has been absorbed. A politician is the same way when loosed into a new environment. They run around and greet and shake the hand of every person making sure to meet, greet and get the flavor of each person. Somehow politicians, simply by a moment of inane small-talk, can discern which people in the room have money and judge the relative ease with which some of that money can be garnered into their campaign chest. Those people are kept in their memory for a more intense conversation after the room has been sampled. While there are different personalities among dogs, hold a treat in front of any dog and they become attentive and responsive doing whatever they think you might desire of them in order to get the treat. Once they get the treat they run off and ignore you until you again become an item of interest. Hold out campaign contributions and a politician will say exactly what you want to hear and sympathize with your every interest and do their political equivalent of sit up and beg until they get the funding after which they run off looking for the next contributor. Should you ever mention contributing again, the politicians will sit up and return to their attentive act. Dogs will leave a mess all over the area in which they reside with little embarrassment. Do I even have to point out that politicians leave a mess in their wake making a mess out of everything they touch? I did not think so. For every action which is fairly universal among dogs have a similar action that is true of the vast majority of politicians. Dogs nuzzle your hand to get you to stroke them. Politicians nudge you to get you to stoke their campaign chests. Dogs will appear excited and absolutely wildly beside themselves joyous when they see their masters and other known humans who often have paid attentions and stroked them or played with them. Politicians react exactly the same way though it is disturbing when they try to wag their tails when they are in the company of contributors, especially large contributors. Dogs will bark as a response to everything. Politicians will allocate money as a response to everything. Dogs will behave very properly when you are watching them closely. The same is true with politicians. Dogs will act true to their nature and get into everything and eat anything tasty when not being watched. Politicians will get into regulating everything if not watched carefully and will find a way to make money or place their name on every structure when left to their own devices. But what about the different personalities and traits with dogs, do politicians have their own equivalent types?
Many dogs are constantly happy just wagging their tails and squirming with endless energy. There are politicians who have a big smile plastered on their faces all of the time and are constantly happy and seem to have endless energies that somehow makes them attractive and seem to be positive people. Some dogs growl at anything which tries to take away their bone or favorite toy. Challenge a politician by running against them for their position and you will see more than you ever wished for of growling and bared teeth, just in a more civilized and hidden manner, but the rage will be evident. Some dogs just have to chase cars. Some politicians just have to chase after causes. A good example would be former Vice President Gore and global warming. Some dogs are lazy lay around type who hardly ever gets motivated to do much of anything and only seem to move when absolutely necessary like to go out or eat and drink.. They resemble politicians who represent gerrymandered districts that are so safe they do not even need to ever campaign as their seat is guaranteed for life so they simply go through the motions with as little effort as is demanded. Dogs often run in packs. Politicians have a similar activity that they call a junket where they go in a group usually to some very nice location where they need to study something presumably important. Dogs have been known to bark at nothing with absolutely no reason. Politicians do the same and they call it making an important speech about something that they wish people to believe they feel as strongly about as those they are speaking to feel. Just as dogs come in varying sizes, habits and personalities just as do politicians and just as dogs can be trained by reward and denial, so can politicians be trained or rather forced to do what is presumably their real reason for being, serving the people. Unfortunately the people rarely gather in force to push the politicians but when they really care the politicians will respond. They can be made to heel, sit, beg, and even bark on command if you can prove to them that you control the one item they will do almost anything to attain, sufficient voters supporting the idea to keep or remove them from their cushy office. That is the best treat which gets any politicians attention and is the only answer to outbid all the monies that the special interests offer. Votes are the large meaty fresh soup bone and money the big dog treat and guess which one will make the politician sit up and beg for fastest.
Beyond the Cusp
I recently read a very surprising and intriguing article authored by Larry Elder titled ”Recruit George McGovern to Speak — at the Republican Convention!”. The article quoted a number of remarks made by George McGovern in reference to his experiences on his path from purchasing a small hotel and restaurant, the Stratford Inn in Connecticut to the end where the business failed. One quote which stood out made by Mr. McGovern was, “I wish I had known more firsthand about the concerns and problems of American businesspeople while I was a U.S. senator and later a presidential nominee. That knowledge would have made me a better legislator and a more worthy aspirant to the White House.” Reading this and the other McGovern statements quoted in this revealing article I had an epiphany that we should add one more requirement for candidates running for public office, especially at the Federal level. The individual States should decide this for themselves once this expectation has been added which will require a difficult process in order to enact the new requirement, a Constitutional amendment. My thought was we should require for anyone seeking to serve in the House of Representatives have a minimum of five years working in the private sector with at least eighteen months in a supervisory position. In addition, any person seeking a position in the Senate should have eight years working in the private sector and a minimum of three years in a supervisory position. Anybody seeking the Presidency should meet the same requirements as one seeking a seat in the Senate if not something even more stringent. Candidates should also be required to list their work experience by submitting a resume with their entire work history and three work-related recommendations with one each from someone who supervised their work and a person whose work the candidate had supervised. This would serve to give the people who seek to write and form the rules and regulations under which we all must live and operate, especially the small business people, to have had to experience the existing rules and regulations and felt the impingement they have.
The way I see this is that if somebody who was as deep a leftist as George McGovern was able to learn the errors of the positions he once purported and do almost a complete turn-around, then perhaps by forcing candidates to experience some of what had such a transformational effect on McGovern could only serve to provide us with better governance. Yes, I realize that this would not be universally effective, but should it be merely ten percent effective in resetting the thoughts of those eventually seeking public office, then the change to our government and the influences government exerts on business would see a great resulting transformation. As it now sits, we have people serving in Congress, both the House of Representatives and the Senate, and most of those holding important and influential positions in the White House, the President most of all, have absolutely no real world work experience. The vast majority have not done a stitch of work outside of elected office, not even as a bagger, construction worker, pizza delivery person, or even a paper route while growing up, let alone any adult age work experience. Despite not even holding a part time job, these are the very same people who craft the regulations, tax laws, licensing demands, and other heavy influences on the work environment which stifles profit and makes running a small business near to impossible. If even George McGovern can reach a point where he issues a mea-culpa regretting his own actions and decrying the ignorance under which he presumed to craft legislation and voted on same that have such a deep and disturbing influence working against business and the people who must meet these regulations then perchance requiring politicians to have at least a minimum of experience working under the existing shackles before being allowed to craft even more shackles might be a positive move. It is doubtful it could make things any worse. It has come to the front that the main reason that hiring has not responded to any of the presumed recovery which business has supposedly experienced is largely due to uncertainty to the requirements that will be coming from the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act as well as other new regulations as thus far President Obama has presided over the greatest increase in regulations, requirements and new taxes upon business since Franklin Delano Roosevelt. It is no wonder why business and hiring are at a virtual standstill with the Sword of Damocles hanging precariously over their collective heads. What is sad is that without some sanity things will only get worse as it seems like once a piece of legislation has been enacted or a regulation loosed upon our world, that it is impossible for anybody to actually nullify such things and relieve the dooming pressures on business. We need not only politicians who will prevent further legal creep that inhibits business with cumbersome regulations and requirements, but politicians who will remove large amounts of the preexisting oppressive pressures, stifling regulations and murderous taxes off from the business sectors of our society and instead encourage business. I know, such a novel idea that it has no chance of ever occurring. How do we know if we don’t at least call for it and give it a try?
Beyond the Cusp
Before a problem can be resolved it must first be identified. The politicians pontificating on spending, taxes, over-sized government, needful stimuli, prudent investigations, all accompanied by catch phrases and sound bites are not addressing on what may be the most destructive and imbedded problem we are facing today, over-regulation. And what makes this an even more difficult problem to fix is that the vast majority of regulations are not proposed, inspired, written or voted upon by any of our politicians. There have been the few who have identified this as one of the most pressing problems of our time and have vowed to fight against the expansive web of regulations but usually do not give any concrete steps they will take or what they will implement that will corral the regulators and stem the regulatory blizzards.
The reason for this is simple; politicians do not have any direct control over regulations, not their invention, not their implementing, and not their seeming ability to spawn new regulations in order to implement the initial regulation. But the truth is that the politicians who passed the laws and then neglected to write the regulations that implement these laws, instead relegating this power to the faceless masses of bureaucrats to form and flesh out the legislation with whatever regulations they can find reasons to incorporate, have relegated not only the meat of their position but also any trust or respect due them in their position. There is no limit to how many regulations which can be formed from any piece of legislation. It is possible for a twenty line piece of legislation which calls for more visible traffic signs on the country’s interstate highways can lead to hundreds of pages of regulations. The little holders of the near infinite fiefdoms established to implement legislations and laws would take such a directive to take off to regulate all manners of making signs more legible and visible under any and all imaginable environments and conditions. Initially there will be regulations establishing the different classes of highway signs such as speed limit, exit, route numbers, services, and so forth. There can be the regulations for colors to be used for each class of sign. Then there must be regulations for the size of the lettering and numbering, as well as the reflectibility of each class. Then there are the regulations pertaining to positioning and whether they are allowed to be used as overhead signage. There can be regulations detailing how many signs are required and their distance before the item and between multiple signs with similar information notifying of different road conditions or options for exits coming ahead. And these are simply a small example as we do not have a regulation Czar such as Cass Sunstein on staff. Imagine the number of regulations the little cogs in the gears and wheels of government in charge of regulatory writing are going to invent when they sink their claws into the two-thousand-plus page Obamacare legislation. Be afraid, be very afraid.
Next time you hear a politician talking about how they are going to go to Washington and chop the government down to size; ask them what they plan to do about the situation of our unbelievable over-regulation and how they will accomplish that task. This is one of the questions which can turn a politician into a stuttering, melting mass of protoplasm collapsing in on themselves while spitting out inanities as they slowly grind to the political version of the blue screen of death. The problem is that should the politicians actually desire to get on top of the regulation monster and wrestle it under control they would actually have to work and work very hard. They would have to take it upon themselves to actually write all of the regulations instead of placing a line such as, “and to establish all regulations and licenses necessary to implement this legislation as directed by the office of (pick your favorite Cabinet Secretary Office). And even if they should take this serious responsibility which is in theory already their job to do and not to relegate to some unelected bureaucrat, there would still be the regulations that have been initiated over the past sixty or more years that should be reviewed and the vast majority be negated and filed in the circular file at the end of the desk. The fact that we have a position of Regulatory Czar is just a symptom of this out-of-control problem. So, sooner or later the public will have no choice but to take up the call for the end of living lives strangled by regulations to the point we can hardly breathe. The United States was supposed to be the nation where the dedication inside the pedestal of the Statue of Liberty was a guarantee and truth, “Give me your tired, your poor, your huddled masses yearning to breathe free.” How can we breathe free if regulations are used to strangle the breath out of us? Let us once again unwrap the bindings of these often damaging and ever useless regulations which restrict our action and once again be allowed to breathe free.
Beyond the Cusp