Social Question

FireMadeFlesh's avatar

Why don't politicians listen to the people?

Asked by FireMadeFlesh (16543points) August 19th, 2010

We have an election this Saturday, and after about six weeks of campaigning most people seem to have figured out that it really doesn’t matter who wins. Political journalists are practically falling asleep at their desks because neither major party is actually doing anything.

The point of a democratic system of government is to allow the population to have their say in the running of their country, but the way things are at the moment neither major party is making a commitment to policies because they are scared of a backlash. Both parties have also said that they won’t win on their merits, but because people don’t like the other.

So why won’t the politicians listen to the people and release policies? How does this stalemate benefit either party? Why do they stick to non-events, and not release a radical policy? I really don’t care so much what they say, but I would at least like them to try and do something for the country.

On a broader note, what would you like to see from a political party? What would make you vote for someone, rather than just voting against the other?

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12 Answers

ANef_is_Enuf's avatar

I think it is because money talks in most cases.

Cruiser's avatar

I don’t agree with that premise at all. You may not think it matters who wins (even though I think it does matter), the winner will then have the responsibility to do their job to the will of their voters.

I view politics as a “trickle up” process. The politician who matters most in my life is my Alderman. He/she is the person who will “listen” to me but only if I open up that dialogue with them. They do listen too as they know that whether or not I voted for them that my vote will really matter to them come re-election time and my voice as well as my fellow neighbors voices will let them know what we think and feel about the current state of affairs locally, statewide and at the Federal level. This Alderman’s job is then to work with our Mayor and also interacts with our Congressmen and Senators who rely on these Aldermen to let them know what their voters think and feel as well. This process works and has since the founding of our country. The old adage the squeaky wheel gets the oil does hold true in politics and as long as you and I squeak, the politicians nearest to us will listen and do respond to our thoughts and then let the bigger “guys” know just how happy or unhappy their constituents are. Simply casting a vote is just the beginning of the political process, you also have to make your voice heard to be part of the process that does work for you if you squeak loud enough.

Blackberry's avatar

We are humans; they are humans. Do we listen to everyone? I think people assume politicians are on a higher echelon than every other human. A politician can be same guy you went to high school with, people have seen them make dumb mistakes, give bad advice, get away with something they should not have etc.

brotherhume's avatar

They do listen to people – but mostly not you or me. Politicians should listen to anyone with good ideas on how to improve the country. Most politicians listen to their advisors and other groups. Often times, they are the ones who have ideas that benefit the government or only certain small groups.

It is impossible for a politician to satisfy everybody. If we like every decision made by a leader, something is not right. Making your voice heard, as @Cruiser said, and presenting your solutions reasonably is the only way to help a politician or any leader figure out the right decision.

Seaofclouds's avatar

If they release their policies right before an election, they are at risk of losing voters who are against their policies. It’s much easier for them if they stall releasing their policies until after the election. Their objective right before an election is to get as many voters as they can. If they can be vague and get people on both sides of an issue to vote for them, they are going to do that. Once they put policies out that clearly put them on one side or the other of an issue, they are going to cut their number of voters.

I think they listen to what people say, they just don’t act on everything that is said (which can be a really good thing sometimes).

FireMadeFlesh's avatar

@TheOnlyNeffie There is no money in it for them, because political donations aren’t really the done thing here. I’m not sure if they are illegal or if they are capped, but the party never makes money from an election. In any case the voters would avoid someone known to have taken donations wherever they came from. The most any corporation can do for the government is advertise.

@Cruiser Fair enough. I actually think it matters a huge amount who wins, but we won’t find out who is better until after the election. In the 2007 election there was some fire though, because there were hot issues to be debated and powerful groups lobbying. This time around the biggest issue they can find is how much faster to make our broadband network, and whether to tax mining only or everyone. The tax is an important issue, but I expect more. Talking to my local member would also be unproductive until after the election, because he is in the Opposition and therefore cannot yet do anything except criticise the Government.

@Blackberry I’m more concerned about the mistakes they are making now than what they did in high school. I don’t think people assume they are a higher echelon, we just exercise our right to complain when they are ineffective.

@brotherhume Of course a politician cannot satisfy everyone, but I wish they would stand for something so that people would vote for them because of their policies rather than voting against the other guys.

@Seaofclouds I think that explains it, thanks. I naively expected that a more successful campaign tactic would be to create an image as a decisive leader. I’m still learning the game to some extent.

Blackberry's avatar

@FireMadeFlesh Of course. I have only heard many good things about one politician. Apparently Micheal Bloomberg is an outstanding guy; I wonder what makes him different that the rest?

FireMadeFlesh's avatar

@Blackberry I’ve never heard of him, but he must be a rare breed. The only politician I ever completely respected was Peter Costello.

brotherhume's avatar

@FireMadeFlesh I see what you mean. Nobody want some spineless, formless blob that just filters out the ideas of others and chooses a bunch of policies from a bag of advisors. With good policies comes the responsibility to stand by them and see that they are fulfilled. I just hate knowing that current politics is almost synonymous with broken promises. I think a more direct bond between a politician and his or her followers needs to exist. If there is more trust developed, then it is harder for the leader to sway from his promises and harder for people to criticize decisions in a very distant, detached way. In terms of an entire country, any ideas on how this can be achieved?

FireMadeFlesh's avatar

@brotherhume I totally agree. In terms of an entire country, I would like to see Prime Ministers given the power to select ministers from all walks of society, whether they are party members or not. They seem to shuffle ministers around whenever they want a fresh look, but the ministers never properly settle in to their new responsibilities before they are moved again. I would also like to see every Prime Minister serve out their entire term, rather than being replaced by the party, so every election is a contract between the people and the government to fulfil their promises during their term. I would like to see the people given the power to call the election rather than the government too (although I’m not sure how to make it work). Compulsory voting should also be scrapped. I think these measures would go a long way towards fostering a healthy relationship that is more focussed on the voters.

Tuesdays_Child's avatar

Unfortunately, politicians listen to whoever has the money to feed their own special interests, and most usually, that isn’t their constituents. Incumbent politicians hear the lobbyists who are willing to shove money toward them in return for the politician supporting certain legislation or voting a certain way on already proposed legislation. This is why the words career and politician should never go together.

bowlan's avatar

polititions dont listed to the people because they dont care,the other fact is they stink we are stuped and have to be told what they feel we should hear.
i have done economic research since 09 and below are what we have to look forward to.
impending economic collapse 2011–2012 s.bowlan
Most Americans still appear to be operating under the delusion that the “recession” will soon pass and that things will get back to “normal” very soon. Unfortunately, that is not anywhere close to the truth. What we are now witnessing are the early stages of the complete and total breakdown of the U.S. economic system. The U.S. government, state governments, local governments, businesses and American consumers have collectively piled up debt that is equivalent to approximately 360 percent of GDP. At no point during the Great Depression (or at any other time during our history) did we ever come close to such a figure. We have piled up the biggest mountain of debt that the world has ever seen, and now that gigantic debt bubble is beginning to pop. As this house of cards comes crashing down, the economic pain is going to become almost unimaginable.
Already, things are really, really, really bad out there. Unemployment is at shockingly high levels. Foreclosures and personal bankruptcies continue to set new all-time records. Businesses are being shut down at a staggering rate, more than 40 million Americans are on food stamps, and the U.S. government continues to pile up debt at blinding speed.
There is no use sugar-coating it. The U.S. economy is collapsing.
The following are 40 bizarre statistics that reveal the truth about the collapse of the U.S. economy….this info was collected from dec 09-jan-2011
1 – 30 of all u.s.households have at least one member that is looking for a full-time job.
2 – 65 percent of the U.S. labor force has experienced either unemployment, a pay decrease, a reduction in hours or an involuntary move to part-time work since the recession began.
3 – There are 27 million Americans are unemployed and a lot of them are are not receiving an unemployment insurance check because their extensions expired,they are called the 99s.
4 – In America today, the average time needed to find a job has risen to a record 35.2 weeks and in most states it is imposable to get a job because they are not available.
5 – According to one federal unpublished analysis, the United States has lost 27 million jobs since 2008.
6 – China’s trade surplus (much of it with the United States) climbed 140 percent in June compared to a year earlier. we imported 436 billion in 2010 from china but exported just 36 billion to china.
7 – This is what American workers now must compete against: in China a garment worker makes approximately 86 cents an hour and in Cambodia a garment worker makes approximately 22 cents an hour.
8 – According to a poll taken in 2009, 90 percent of Americans “always or usually” live paycheck to paycheck. That was up significantly from 49 percent in 2008 and 43 percent in 2007.
9 – According to a recent poll conducted by Bloomberg, 90% of Americans say that it still feels like the economy is in a recession.
10 – Banks repossessed 269,962 U.S. homes during the second quarter of 2010, which was a new all-time record.
11 – Banks repossessed an average of 4,000 South Florida properties a month in the first half of 2010, up 83 percent from the first half of 2009.
12 – According to RealtyTrac, a total of 1.65 million U.S. properties received foreclosure filings during the first half of 2010. since 08 over 2 million homes forclosed on.
13 – The Mortgage Bankers Association recently announced that demand for loans to purchase U.S. homes has sunk to a 13-year low.
14 – Only the top 5 percent of U.S. households have earned enough additional income to match the rise in housing costs since 1975.
15 – 1.41 million Americans filed for personal bankruptcy in 2009 – a 32 percent increase over 2008.
16 – Back in 1950 each retiree’s Social Security benefit was paid for by 16 workers. Today, each retiree’s Social Security benefit is paid for by approximately 3.3 workers. By 2025 it is projected that there will be approximately two workers for each retiree.
17 – for non-retirees still working that sad fact is Social Security won’t be able to pay them benefits when they stop working.
18 – 43 percent of Americans have less than $10,000 saved for retirement.
19 – 36 percent of Americans don’t contribute anything to retirement savings.
20 – According to one recent survey, 65% of American workers say that they have postponed their planned retirement age in the past year.
21 – The Conference Board’s Consumer Confidence Index declined sharply to 52.9 in June. Most economists had expected that the figure for June would be somewhere around 62.
22 – Retail sales in the U.S. fell in June for a second month in a row.
23 – Vacancies and lease rates at U.S. shopping centers continued to get worse during the second quarter of 2010.
24 – Consumer credit in the United States has contracted during 15 of the past 16 months.
25 – During the first quarter of 2010, the total number of loans that are at least three months past due in the United States increased for the 16th consecutive quarter.
26 – Things are now so bad in California that in the region around the state capital, Sacramento, there is now one closed business for every six that are still open.
27 – The state of Illinois now ranks eighth in the world in possible bond-holder default. The state of California is ninth.
28 – More than 25 percent of Americans now have a credit score below 599, which means that they are a very bad credit risk.
29 – On Friday, U.S. regulators closed down three banks in Florida, two in South Carolina and one in Michigan, bringing to 96 the number of U.S. banks to be shut down so far in 2010.
30 – The FDIC’s deposit insurance fund now has negative 20.7 billion dollars in it, which represents a slight improvement from the end of 2009.
31 – The U.S. federal budget deficit has topped $1 trillion with three months still to go in the current budget year.
32 – According to a U.S. Treasury Department report to Congress, the U.S. national debt will top $13.6 trillion this year and climb to an estimated $19.6 trillion by 2015.
33 – The M3 money supply plunged at a 9.6 percent annual rate during the first quarter of 2010.
34 – Americans between the ages of 44 and 75, 61% said that running out money was their biggest fear. The remaining 39% thought death was scarier.
35 – One study found that as of 2007, the bottom 80 percent of American households held about 7% of the liquid financial assets.
36 – The bottom 40 percent of all income earners in the United States now collectively own less than 1 percent of the nation’s wealth.
37 – The number of Americans with incomes below the official poverty line rose by about 40% between 2000 and 2006, and by 2008 over 60 million U.S. workers were earning less than $10 per hour.
38 – According to one recent study, approximately 90 percent of all children in the United States are living below the poverty line in 2010 – the highest rate in 20 years.
39 – For the first time in U.S. history, more than 40 million Americans are on food stamps, and the U.S. Department of Agriculture projects that number will go up to 43 million Americans in 2011.
40 – A new Rasmussen Reports national telephone survey has found that just 23% of American voters nationwide believe the federal government today has the consent of the governed.
what caused all this. there are two bills to blaim.
NAFTA free trade with mexico and canada that was signed into law on dec 17 1992 by bush.
the other bill is the china free trade bill signed into law by clinton on oct 10 2000
now in jan 2011 we have over 27 million out of work and a real unemployment number of 17–20 percent.
in 09 23 states were in the red
2010 there were 32
2011 we have 46 states now asking the government to draw up a new bill called chapter 9 bankruptcy.
expected by mid 2011 at least 50 of 51 states will be in this situation.
when millions loose their job, millions in tax revenue are lost to each state. million of tax dollars mean states take money from other areas to cover the debt. like any business when you pay out more then you take it you fail. that is the news you are not being told on your news channels. what to expect in 2011 severe cuts made to social security,welfare,medicare,Medicaid,food stamps,and every other low income service being provided to the middle class.
it is expected that from mid 2011–2012 the 46 states will be doing a massive layoff. expected 45,000 layoffs by mid 2011 across 46 states. this is a low number. the high side could be in the 10’s of thousands.
the reason being is the government does not have the money now to offer a state by state bailout and for the feds to simply print the money would devalue the u.s.dollar to the point of collapse.

Why Our Economy is Collapsing
The United States is in open competition with the same countries from which we buy our goods and finance our government. These countries supply our consumption while simultaneously competing fiercely against our companies in international markets. Nations like India, Japan, and China, along with trade blocs like the European Union, rail against the U.S. when we use “protectionism” because they do not want to have their unfettered access to our market tampered with.
Other countries, like China and Japan, protect their
companies by putting limits and restrictions on the amount of American-made goods flowing into the markets. The United States puts up no such regulations, and is thus flooded with foreign-made goods.
now under the obama adminustration even u.s.federal defence contracts are open to over seas competition were just a few years ago only u.s.manufactures could compete for u.s.defence contracts.
NAFTA, and the china “free trade” agreements, favor the foreign producers. We are told by the WTO and the EU that we cannot and should not protect our own economy. Through “free trade” the U.S. must open itself to all foreign interests. Implementation of the North American Free Trade Agreement
(NAFTA) began on January 1, 1994. This agreement will remove most barriers to trade and investment among the United States, Canada, and Mexico. Under the NAFTA, all non-tariff barriers to agricultural trade between the United States and Mexico and canada were eliminated.
bill clinton signs the china free trade bill oct 10 2000
The granting of PNTR-CFTB by the United States would clear the way for China’s entry into the World Trade Organization and enable free trade with American businesses and industries. Goods from China could be granted the same lower tariff rates in U.S. markets as currently extended to other nations. Our government has eroded its own regulations regarding capital infusions, mergers and acquisitions, and foreign-takeovers. To make matters worse, most successful American companies are for sale on an open stock market. As a result the United States has lost thousands of companies to foreign takeovers in the past 30 years, and stands to lose even more as the economic crisis deepens.
The same cannot be said of other countries, where takeovers are closely regulated and major industrial champions rarely – if ever – get purchased by an interest overseas. Most Americans do not realize the gravity of the situation because so much of the media attention is directed in favor of the “free trade” system that has bankrupted us. Scholars, politicians, professionals, and others from all walks of life have been indoctrinated into the idea that “free trade” is the best and only way to do business. Our political leaders believe in this whimsical idea, and those that do not preach the fallacies of “free trade” are bought and paid for by major corporate interests and foreign lobbies. Our factories are shuttered and our industries are unproductive. This country imports consumer goods that could and should otherwise be made at home. It exports its wealth, strength, and prestige in exchange. With no internal capabilities remaining we are now insourcing foreign corporations to manufacture in the U.S. for their own profit and benefit. States fight over who will land the next contract. There are thousands of foreign-owned, American-registered companies in the United States. Many of the automobile factories which presently supply our car market are foreign-owned.
Our state, local, and federal governments continue to offer tax breaks and subsidies to these foreign companies in exchange for a few American jobs even after this practice drove our own automakers to the point of dissolution. In the near future we may find our living standards diminished and our prospects for growth and economic independence dampened. Without any homegrown industries to drive a comeback we will be forced to be content with our diminishing status.
While formerly living in the lap of luxury we allowed the greatest economy on earth to fall apart by living on imports and foreign financed debt. The “me first” mentality which drove this country has pushed us into a crisis from which we will not return unless we immediately fix our problems. politicians passed these bills by receiving massive kick-backs in the form of votes and favors by large corporations in both the united states and fourign countries. there is no single side to blame,both demecrate and republican could fix the problem if they wanted to. the collapse of the u.s.ecomnomy is inevitable unless trade restrictions are put back in place.
in the united states the economic engine that drove the economy was manufacturing,now that that has been taking out of the equasion the economy can not survive.
need any more proof that this system is not working,how about 27 million jobs lost since the china trade bill was put into law. as of Jan 1— 2011 46 states are so badly in debt that the u.s.government is trying to design a new chapter 9 bankruptcy for each of the u.s.states,this chapter 9 will allow states to back out of pension contracts they have made with state and union workers. the cause for these 46 states is the massive unemployment and business failures. states are now paying out more money then they are taking in in tax money. mid 2011 states will be forced to make massive cuts to state Pension welfare,Medicaid,medicare,food stamps and every other low income service they provide. the governments next move in mid 2011 will be to cut social security. those who will be retiring soon may not get any thing and those on it now may get less.
every thing in this report was compiled from 2009–2011 if you think parts or the entire story is wrong then you are in Denial.

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