04 November 2006

When Good Politics Makes for Bad Policy

The growing gap between effective politics and effective policy has already cost us trillions and will get worse before it is corrected.

The most obvious example of this conflict can be seen in the policies pursued by Israelis and Palestinians. No political party can gain popular support unless it talks tough about retaliation. Yet the policy of retaliation has simply sustained a horrific condition of mutually-inflicted terrorism. In that situation, good politics makes for bad policy; what is effective at the polls fails when it makes contact with reality.

When leaders fail to articulate the stakes and make clear the links between present actions and future conditions, the press focuses on the story of politics. Rather than report on policy the media focuses on polls. When this happens, societies' become increasingly dysfunctional.

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