Focus on Short-term Fixes: “Third-rail” issues are shunned
Why? Because they are afraid it will hurt their chances of being reelected.
Why are they afraid of not being reelected?
Members clearly know – as do all of us – that some programs are not sustainable in their present form and must be changed. However, they also know that an ever-increasing number of their constituents receive financial benefits from such programs; Social Security and Medicare are obvious examples. Most members of Congress are infected with careerism and therefore are not brave enough to support legislation to correct long-term problems. They want to continue to receive the power, prestige, perks, and financial rewards of being a member of Congress. So, they kick the can down the road. Careerism and short-term thinking are the root causes.
Robert Kennedy wrote in his foreword to John Kennedy’s book Profiles in Courage: “What happens to the country, to the world, depends on what we do with what others have left us.”