(My Clovis News Journal column for July 15, 2011. As written, not as published.)
Politically-minded people are starting to anticipate election season. This means many of them will be asking the wrong questions of the candidates; who will be all-too willing to answer them.
We are already hearing politicians detailing what they would do about things that no government, nor any politician, has any authority to be involved in. Things like the economy and job creation, to pick a couple of prime examples.
Sure those things are important, and the natural desire of many seems to be to find or place someone "in authority" to do something beneficial for both. This path to a solution leads nowhere but over the cliff.
It's like asking me what I would do to stop dogs from scratching themselves in public. Or what I would do to stop my neighbors from watching the "wrong" television programs, or from eating unhealthy food. It is not, and could never be, within my authority no matter my job title, and even if it were, anything I might propose to do would be useless if not outright counterproductive due to unintended consequences.
Government can't create jobs other than government jobs, but government jobs don't help the economy; they diminish it. Government can also destroy jobs and prevent the market from creating jobs through regulation and taxation. The best thing government can do for job creation is to get out of the way. And the best thing government could do for the economy, along with getting out of the way of job creation, would be to shut down the counterfeiting operation at the Federal Reserve.
Yet those solutions are seen by most voters as "doing nothing", so are avoided at all costs. Politicians want to be remembered for action, even if it is the wrong one, rather than what is seen as inaction.
The best answers a candidate can give to those sorts of questions would make him unelectable, which is why America ends up with a growing economic mess and devastating law pollution, no matter which of the increasingly indistinguishable major parties takes the reins.