Politicians simply can't help themselves. If their constituents are clearly up in arms about an issue the politicians are going to charge in to do something - even if it's wrong.
Their failure to admit there are world market forces that they have little control of compels them to wade into the river of discontent and muck things up even more so than things were already mucked up.
One example is the proposal by two of the three leading presidential candidates to suspend the federal gas tax of 18.4 cents per gallon this summer. This ill-founded suggestion to temporarily stop collecting this user fee would create a huge whole in the federal highway fund at a time when failing bridges and beat-up roads desperately need attention. It would also increase demand and probably encourage more gas consumption.
Example No. 2 of a mess created by well-meaning politicians is the government-subsidized ethanol industry, which is slowly falling out of favor with environmentalists and advocates for the world's hungry. Americans are increasingly questioning the logic of farmers using fuel to raise corn that can be used as fuel while food shortages are being experienced around the world.
Common sense on this issue is particularly rare on this issue during a presidential year as the candidates make their quadrennial pilgrimages to woo those who attend the Iowa caucuses.
All too often political pandering to public sentiment takes precedence over sound public policy. In certain situations we'd be much better off if the politicians would just sit on their hands and do nothing.
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