Long Term Thinking – Part I

Linking politicians' retirement checks to the fulfillment of their promises

Long term thinking is missing in the political arena. Even the I-wanna-do-things-right politician is handcuffed by the 4 year election cycle. Voters are hard to please. Voters lose faith quickly when results don’t show up immediately. Voters are short term thinkers. Politicians, if they are to survive, must play by the rules of the game.
 
If we want long-term politics we must change the rules of the political game. We have to remove the Let-the-next-one-pick-up-the-mess strategy from politics.

One way to encourage long-term thinking could be linking politicians’ salary or retirement checks to country performance (*). The idea would be to link the long-term results of their decisions with their future income.
 
We could monitor simple and measurable parameters such as unemployment rate or inflation rate. These rates tap directly into the voter’s wallet. There could also be environmental related parameters; CO2 emissions per capita. In reality they could be any parameter related to any field in society, education, healthcare, crime, justice, defense, etc.
 
They idea would be to let politicians promise target values for said parameters during elections. Voters would choose their candidate as usual. Candidate’s performance would be evaluated at the end of the 4 year term. For example, if a politician is promising an unemployment rate below 5%, implemented policies have to have lasting effects for at least 10 years after leaving office.
 
Once in office no excuse would be acceptable. The well-known “I did not know the economy was this bad” won’t work. If the country performed for the following 10 years as promised, a full retirement check would be provided. When failing to comply, deductions would be made accordingly.
 
I do not expect any respected politician of an established democracy to implement this kind of change. After all, The Establishment never sees a reason to yield its given power. This kind of change can be implemented only through a popular revolution. Emerging democracies, like Brazil, or Mexico or Turkey, have a chance. Audacity, courage and fearless bravado are needed for change.
 
In 1776, young and idealistic America had these qualities. That’s why they made a breakthrough in citizen’s self-government.  Not now. King George III fearful thinking is in power.

(*) Applicable also to towns, cities, counties, states, provinces, regions, etc.
 

2 comments:

  1. Cool, but do you believe something of this, even a single idea, could be possible in a country like this, with two big parties controling everything?
    When second part..;-)?

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    Replies
    1. Thanks Alejandro. Very few people believed democracy was possible in the 18th century. Today West democracies are failing to meet the challenges of our times. Change will happen somewhere. It is a matter of time. May be our children will see it...

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