In the spirit of the campaign season, when politicians of all parties fill the airwaves with personally approved messages of their wildly exaggerated talent, abilities, and promises for the future, economist Arnold Kling offers his far more realistic -- and therefore politically useless -- list of campaign pledges.
1. That no politician will end America's consumption of foreign oil. Ever.
2. That no politician will figure out a way to bring the bottom half of America's children up to the level where they can benefit from a college education.
3. That no politician will figure out a way to make American health care--meaning virtually unlimited access to specialists and technology--affordable for everyone.
4. That no politician will alter the trends in technology and family structure that are driving the distribution of income and wealth.
5. That no politician will produce a sustainable fiscal outlook without trimming future Social Security and Medicare benefits. (I might have ended the previous sentence simply by putting a period after "outlook")
6. That no politician needs to create jobs. There is always too much work to be done. The problem is never to create jobs. The problem is for individuals to adapt their abilities to ever-changing job opportunities.
7. That no politician will be able to articulate an economic difference between moving labor or goods from country X to country Y and moving labor or goods from Maryland to Virginia.