Democracy Soup

Making sense out of the world of politics

Should U.S. resort to technocrats to solve economic crisis?

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Paul Krugman for president?

Okay, so our non prime minister democratic setup doesn’t allow us to flip a leader for a technocrat to get the United States out of our economic crisis.

Paul Krugman for prime minister?

Watching Greece and Italy, two countries even worse off than the United States, switch from elected prime ministers to economists running the show has to make us a little jealous since something could actually get done in those countries.

Meanwhile, back in the USA, we have a Super Congress that has until tomorrow to make cuts to the deficit before super-imposed cuts take place … maybe. Yawn.

Watching Mario Monti replace Silvio Berlusconi as prime minister made us a little hungry for what Italy is doing, usually reserved for spaghetti, bruschetta, and biscotti. Putting the focus on the economy as a priority in a country that is in deep economic peril.

Meanwhile, we have a Congress that hasn’t passed one jobs bill in the almost year that the Republicans have run the House. A gentle reminder: legislation starts in the House; no matter what a president does, unless the House passes legislation, nothing can get done.

The MSM doesn’t step in to ask why we have no jobs bill. The lack of jobs bill is difficult even for late night comedians, since joking about nothing is a lot harder to do than joking about something. Unless Nietzsche gets his own talk show, we are in trouble.

Democratic politicians would love to pass a jobs bill, but are even more helpless than usual. And so we wait.

The oddity within the prime minister situation is that once you elect a party, as long as that party stays in control, the prime minister isn’t really for the people to decide. When Margaret Thatcher stepped down in Great Britain, John Major wasn’t initially elected. John Turner and Kim Campbell are two Canadian examples of people who have served as prime minister without being elected to the post.

The Italian people didn’t elect Mario Monti to be prime minister. They could respond to their MPs if they didn’t like the selection. Americans are different: they want accountability, for decision to be made by elected officials (with the exception of the 2000 presidential race).

Sure, the Super Congress wasn’t elected, but the people within the Super Congress were elected. And the automatic cuts, if they go through, were decided by people who were elected to do the work they are currently avoiding.

We elect representatives to get things done after the economic collapse of the fall of 2008. They try and do what they can, though they are thwarted from making major changes. And then the American public elect people that they know won’t get things done, and to be fair, they have kept those promises. But we still have these problems that are getting worse. As unfair as this might sound, you could get a significant majority of Americans who would want Paul Krugman to be the new prime minister of the United States.

One major reason why the governments of Greece and Italy wanted to switch prime ministers is that they didn’t want the responsibilities of tying a political party to austerity measures. Politicians in the United States may agree on cutting deficits, but they disagree on what to cut and what to tax. And only one political party in the U.S. wants to do something about the lack of jobs.

Thomas Jefferson, John Adams, and the other Founding Fathers would be mortified about the idea of an unelected prime minister making significant economic changes. But they would also wonder why Congress is not doing the job they were elected to do.

Though mainstream America thought very little about Occupy Wall Street and its cousins around the country and the world, all these people were trying to get our elected officials to do was listen to the people who can’t afford to give the donations the politicians need to be elected, and pay less attention to the corporations/people that do give them the money. If elected officials were doing their jobs and following the will of the American people, we would see far fewer tents, and we wouldn’t even have to consider getting outside help.

These economic problems need to be solved. The question to the White House and Congress is are we going to do it the traditional way or do we need outside solutions.


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