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TCFP43: Will we wake up soon?

You don’t need me to tell you that our political landscape is in dire straits. Have you noticed that you are probably better qualified to be a MP than your MP? That’s not good.

I believe that, like all other things, a cycle exists in politics and we are currently somewhere near the bottom of it. Hopefully (surely?!) the only way is up from here and a new, better generation of politicians are waiting in the wings.

It doesn’t matter whether we look left or right – it’s dismal. For me, this is most easily seen when we look at economic policy. Here are two examples from across the pond.

Donald J Trump is an economic illiterate. He has proved that in his own businesses – he would be many times richer if he had simply invested his inherited wealth in the US stock market. Click HERE for more on this.

Instead, he believed himself to be a business genius and is much poorer as a result. In aggregate he has created nothing of real value in his lifetime.

Today, as President of the US, he has embarked on a reign of “tariff terror”. He believes that wealth is a zero-sum game; if China has more of it, then the US must have less.

That’s his first mistake. The fact is that the world is many times richer BECAUSE of free trade. Click HERE to understand why.

There’s no doubt at all that tariffs are bad for all concerned, it’s been seen over and over again. Click HERE for a recent article on this.

The “bad” is happening to the US as a result of the trade war with China. Let’s take steel as an example.

A few thousand jobs have been saved but at what cost? US manufacturers now have to use more expensive steel and pass those increased costs on to their customers. The citizens of the US, not wanting to go without these goods, are forced to pay more than is necessary for them.

Experts have put the cost of each saved steel job at $900,000, click HERE for an article on this. Would you want “The Don” advising your business?

Moving to the left, let me introduce you to Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez. She led the charge in defeating Amazon’s plans to build a new headquarters in Queens, New York. She is equally economically illiterate.

The proposal was that Amazon would invest $2.5bn and employ 25,000 in Queens, an area that apparently could do with the investment. On top of that, thousands more jobs would be created in construction, support businesses and local infrastructure. The projected tax revenues over the next 25 years were $27bn.

In return for this investment, Amazon negotiated the return of $3bn to them in the form of tax credits and subsidies over the same 25 years.

Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez denounced this $3bn, stating that “The idea that Amazon will receive hundreds of millions of dollars in tax breaks at a time when our subway is crumbling and our communities need more investment, not less, is extremely concerning to residents here.”

Would you have turned down this deal? Knowing that your purpose as a local representative is, presumably, to improve the lot of your constituents?

She either did not understand that the deal would leave Queens $24bn better off ($27bn in NEW taxes, less the $3bn discount) or is she being wilfully deceptive for her own gain. Stupid or deceptive – that’s quite a choice.

The problem with politicians, across all ages, is that most of them are simply no better qualified than you or me to run the country. I honestly believe they set out with the best of intentions, but those intentions get lost or subsumed along the way.

A century or two ago, up until about 70 years ago, politicians understood and accepted this and deliberately limited their own powers. They kept their noses out of just about everything other than the most important things that needed organising which were typically law/justice and defence. The things that we couldn’t/wouldn’t organise for ourselves.

Otherwise they introduced a law here and there to keep things on the straight and narrow.

Bit by bit, however, they have decided that they do know better than us. And we willingly handed them the power they need to prove how incapable they are.

Think about it. The Government don’t organise our car or home insurance (aside from a few rules and regs), we are left to organise it ourselves and look at the choice and low, low prices available to anyone willing to spend half-an-hour on a computer.

By contrast, look at the mess they have made, and continue to make, of the NHS. It’s the football of all political footballs – how do so many countries apparently produce better outcomes for less cost per head?

Similarly, they don’t tell us where we should live and what jobs we must have, or what TV we should watch or what car we should drive.

But they do feel fully capable of dictating how our children should be educated. Speak to any teachers you know and ask them what they think of that. And this ignores the completely obvious fact that applying yourself, being inquisitive and motivated is far more important than exam passes.

And anyone who thinks the train service is appalling should have tried the State-owned service of the 70s and 80s. I remember actively avoiding having to use them, I’d drive everywhere if I could to avoid the filth, dilapidation and delays. Today’s service is like a chauffeur-driven Rolls Royce in comparison. And getting better!

And finally, Brexit. Dear benighted Brexit, which was left to politicians to implement and here we are, three-and-a-bit years later, with not the first idea how it will turn out.

Of course, no-one in Brussels had the foresight to insert a “pre-nup” into the membership terms and conditions. Such was their arrogance they didn’t believe anyone wouldn’t want to be in their special club.

Imagine if there had been a clause something along the lines of “Feel free to have a referendum on your continued membership whenever you want. If you vote to leave, you will be given six months to organise yourselves and then all ties are severed, you will leave without any ongoing deal, with only the World Trade Organisation rules to go by. There can be no negotiation on this point, but we look forward to negotiating a deal with you in due course. Or not, whatever takes our fancy really.”

We expect far too much from this bedraggled crew of egotists and sycophants. They have neither the mental capacity nor the intelligence to deal with all the things they’ve decided to take responsibility for. Yet they have all the power and influence.

They are, in every way imaginable, completely bang average (or worse) but we expect Bill Gates or Warren Buffet type outcomes from them. It’s simply beyond them, now and forever.

But they are not ultimately to blame, are they? It’s us, the voters and non-voters, that are at fault; we’ve been asleep at the wheel for far too long and now we’re getting exactly what we deserve.

Will we wake up soon?

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