If people are “good in a crisis” then everything they do tends to be a crisis; they turn the routine into a crisis. It seems that politicians of all stripes fall into this category. One can argue that most of the problems that governments have had to deal with have been politically created or at least facilitated.
The fiscal cliff is a crisis entirely created by politicians. They agree a spending cap and a budget that exceeds that cap so why are they surprised when it creates a problem? But rather than manage it they fight amongst themselves until they have no choice but to act, and further delay hard decisions. What happened to elected representatives actually managing the country?
But it is not just in the USA. The sovereign debt crisis across Europe, including the UK, was entirely created by politicians spending more than they could collect in taxes. Families who run up against their overdraft limit then have to live within their income; they cannot simply demand higher wages from their employer. But when governments run out of borrowing facilities they increase their income through taxation even when national income is falling. They transfer the problem of managing the public purse to the people they are there to serve.
We see the problems of the flawed euro currency union not being solved because it is politically expedient for the holders of power to delay action. Real decisions are not being taken because they may not be in the interest of the incumbent political parties, rather than the people they represent, in forthcoming elections in various countries. One could argue it is an anti-democratic abuse of political authority.
As we highlighted in Transparency in Taxation politicians use the complexity of the tax regime to sneak the tax increases in unnoticed, unnoticed until they start to bite incomes. They then wonder why there is so much effort put into tax avoidance
So what do politicians actually do? They certainly do not seem to manage their countries effectively.