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Tuesday, November 30, 2010


Unmet Expectations

In the opinion section about the nation on yahoo.com is an article titled “Obama’s Failures…and Ours” written by Eric Alterman. Alterman is recalling what Obama stood for as a presidential candidate and also what those who voted for him expected from him as a president. Alterman explains why he believes that both the voters and the president are to blame for not achieving that which was expected. Obama promised to be a transformational president focused on hope and change. Instead of adapting those promises to his presidency it seems that he has gone along with maintaining the status quo and is behaving like a typical politician. Alterman points out that his call for change was rooted in a few main values, one of which was equality. Alterman examines some of the other values and voter expectations but what I would like to focus on is the equality aspect in relation to Mancur Olson’s theory.
Applying what Olson believes government’s role is in relation to a country’s prosperity I do not see where equality fits in. Olson explains that strict enforcement of private property and personal liberty are important characteristics for government to have in order for a country to prosper and grow. Equality is not something that government should be concerned with nor can it truly obtain it. This pursuit of equality would only increase rent seeking and fuel the growth of special interest groups. President Obama’s promises and voter expectations are heated issues and can be analyzed in great detail. However, I believe that a simple bottom line is that it is easy to see how voter expectations and presidential promises can be left unmet when government is expected to be a bigger part of our lives than it should be.

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