Status quo thoughts on the status quo

Here is a letter I recently sent to the Midland Daily News:

In his recent letter, William Smith expresses his concerns with the status quo in the political process: “If the president and his party don’t help the majority of the people during his term in office, vote them out! Until then, how will we know? I am sick and tired of status quo. Can’t we just once pass some bills and see if they will help the American people? Maybe, just maybe, that in turn will help the condition of our country” (Sick of the status quo, February 15).

Although I sympathize with Williams frustrations, it is wishful thinking to expect anything other than the status quo from the American political process. Politicians, regardless of their party, face gross incentives in favor of pursuing their own reelection and virtually no incentives to improve the conditions of the public. As Don Boudreaux said in September of 2009: “No delusions should remain that the most recent presidential election has “transformed” Washington into anything grander than what it has always been: a ’spoils exchange’ where A and B shamelessly conspire to rob C and then swap the plundered proceeds with D for D’s commitment to help A and B retain their seats on this exchange.”

Kurt Bouwhuis


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