Politics is about competition, not meeting in the middle

Last week, the legislators in Washington decided to get together and try to create a health care plan everyone would agree on. As expected, both sides merely pointed fingers at each other and nothing got accomplished. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton even said this would hurt U.S. reputation in the world.

This got me thinking about this whole bipartisanship thing and figuring out it’s a scam and a way for politicians to quiet the American voice.

To show you what I mean, let me give you an example. Imagine for a second that two airline companies came together and said to each other, “If we both raise prices, we will both make more money.” If the public found out, they would be outraged. In fact, this is illegal under U.S. antitrust laws, which state that two companies cannot collude to raise prices.

If we instead look at politicians, however, people and the media seem to have a different perspective. They believe the parties must work together to fix America’s problems. Our political leaders must come together, put their differences aside and come to a consensus. I see this as simple collusion. After all, fixing prices is the same as if a Republican senator goes up to a Democrat and says, “I’ll vote for your health care plan if you agree to vote to give me public funds.”

Instead, we need politicians not to collude, but to compete. This is what gives us better service and products in the free market. For instance, McDonald’s must give you the best service it can for the lowest price because you could simply go down the street to Jack in the Box or Taco Bell. However, if both colluded, each would be better off and screwing all of us. The same is true in Washington.

We are beginning to see this in elections. Instead of people being satisfied with candidates, people are dissatisfied with both candidates and only choosing the one that they dislike the least. The reason is that political parties want to collude and now seem like the same thing. This is sad and a very poor way to elect government officials.

One of our Founding Fathers, James Madison, said that we must “counter ambition with ambition.” He meant that people are self-interested and will try to take power as quickly and easily as possible if they can. Opposite political parties used to be able to prevent that from happening, but now I’m afraid this may no longer be the case.

Let’s stop this meeting-in-the-middle view of politics. If I say two plus two equals four and you say it equals six, the average of the two doesn’t make it right. Instead, have politicians fight out ideas, and the best one will come out victorious. Enough bipartisanship already.

Michael Lauck is a sophomore broadcast journalism and economics major from Houston.