People make poor long-term decisions


Every other Tuesday I read The Daily Targum column “Irreconcilable Differences,” which never fails to be a loosely patched together column of misrepresented facts and fiction. Let’s take the author’s “Let people spend their money” piece and scrutinize it.

First, while compact fluorescent light bulbs do contain mercury, does the author realize that the mercury contained in them is less then the amount of mercury that would be released into the atmosphere if we continued to use incandescent bulbs instead? At least if we use CFLs, there is a good chance they will be recycled.

Second, while the government did kill the Community Living Assistance Services and Support Act, isn’t that what we want our government to do — to realize that a certain piece of legislation is poorly written or implemented and get rid of it, not throw out the whole piece of legislation? I also wonder how the author reconciles the fact that the government would have to take on more debt or collect more tax if the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act or “Obamacare” wasn’t enacted?

It is foolish to believe that people do what is best for their long-term interest instead of for the short term. In fact, it is that very shortsightedness that served as a primary cause of our economic downturn. Societies function as a whole, not as a bunch of individuals operating under the principle of survival of the fittest. There is one thing that I have learned in life, and that is that people make stupid decisions all the time because they lack the critical-thinking skills needed to determine what is in their best interest. It is in these cases that the government should step in.

David Patrzeba is a School of Engineering first-year student.

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