Monday, September 01, 2008

Cogs In the Machine

Economists are often scoffed at our "dismal" view of the world, that people respond to incentives first and foremost. There are no saviors, no heroes, no Santa Claus. There is no romance to politics except for what we wish was there. Politicians respond based on the choices they have, a constant as universal as gravity. Mr. Obama is not immune to such failings nor does Mr. McCain's "insider" status make him a shadow of Mr. Bush. While they have wishes and goals their actions will always be different than their speeches, a reality long recognized but rarely applied.

There are no good guys and bad guys. There are only people responding to incentives. Mr. Obama wants everyone to believe he'll be an engine of change, a Santa Claus figure that will make everything alright, and he'll surely offer token alterations to convince the populace of exactly that. But we have this world because that's the one that rewards decision makers. The fundamentals won't change because no desire to risk losing office. Only changing the rules of the game will change how the government work and Mr. Obama mentions nothing of such alterations. Believe the stereotype of the two-faced politician because there is nothing new in this election cycle.

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