Monday, 19 January 2009

Why can't politics be more like The West Wing

My favourite episode of The West Wing was season 5's Shutdown. I can't quite remember all the details, and wikipedia will no doubt prove me wrong, but what I thought happened was that the federal budgets weren't approved, and so the government ran out of money.

All non-essential staff were sent home and I like to imagine, the public sector ground to a halt. It neatly demonstrated that there were limits to government spending, and convincingly portrayed what it looked like. In The West Wing, the financial crisis with public services suspended and all that, only lasted a few days of posturing between the President and congress.

Here in the UK, probly 30% into a recession, where great swathes of the public are losing their jobs and tightening their belts and cutting spending whereever they can, our government just keeps spending. They don't see any limit as to the amount they can dish out.

Admittedly, just printing money is slightly different to borrowing that what you can't pay back.

But please, can't the government just stop spending money, and let the population spend the money themselves, unfettered.

I'm thinking, if they want to get the economy going again, they could do it in little tiny ways, stopping sticking their noses in. Look, this thing about banning fast food joints within 400m of schools, will be putting all fast food joints within 400m of school out of business. Its not good for business, it costs jobs and takes money out of transactions. And that business of banning tobacco displays, which is going to put thousands of small shops out of business, even though the government / Department of Health bought the consultation themselves. Putting businesses out of business is bad for business.

Why can't the government just run out of money, everyone else has.

Meh, I'm going to struggle to pay my rent in two week's time.

The day after my last exam in 2001 I started working, and for the next seven or so years, I was full-time employed or between jobs for a few days, until the start of December 2008. Somehow I have no savings, no money. Aye, I paid off my student loan, but other than that, I've accumulated zero wealth, I have nothing to show for my labours.

My car, computer and snail trail across the internet doesn't count.

I have failed.

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