Friday, 4 January 2019

What politicians should be doing...nothing

“Doing nothing is a full-time job. Don’t imagine that laissez-faire means putting your feet up. All officials want to extend their powers; all bureaucracies will grow if they can. To stop it happening you need to be at your desk before the civil servants come in and still be there when they go home.”
Quote is from Sir John Cowperthwaite, than man who let Hong Kong get rich by doing nothing (lifted from Samizdata).

As politicians we should learn from him not play the more common game of indulging lobbies in the manner retiring California governor Gerry Brown describes:
"I did rein in spending. I did—and then that took fortitude against the tendency of the Democratic Party to spend on almost anything that somebody comes up with that, you know, that satisfies all of the key constituencies."
Hardly a day passes without some well-meant lobby rolling out another proposal for new rules, new powers and new taxes to fund the administrators of those rules and powers. And, almost always, those new rules and new powers just feed bureaucratic growth and weaken the liberties of local communities, individuals and families.

Our job as representatives of the people isn't to know better, let alone act as agents of bureaucracy,  but to stop the powerful from extending their power over those people we represent. To do nothing as Sir John put it.


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