“A politician should (as I have read)
Be furnish’d in the first place with a head…”
With the recent elections in Europe and the upcoming G8 summit there is an outbreak of talk of a choice between austerity and growth. By a choice of growth, most mean that governments should become an engine of economic stimulation via public spending.
Politicians in democracies should always do what is popular, that’s what makes it a democracy, but a proper democracy requires an informed electorate. This puts an extraordinary burden on politicians and journalists not just to be impartial, but to know what they are talking about.
When I was first studying macro economics, my favourite lecturer gave us two facts* which he believed all prospective politicians and journalists should demonstrate an understanding of before taking up their roles. They are encapsulated in two questions which electors / readers should ask :-
1. Who does a borrower borrow from? and
2. Who pays taxes?
The answers are, of course, via convoluted mechanisms :-
1. the borrower’s future self, and
2. people (Mostly those in private sector employment or with personal wealth).
We should all be wary of being bought with our own money.
* I say facts but they are, of course, assertions. If you disagree by all means say so, and why, in a comment.