Albert Einstein attempted to come up with the Unified Theory of Everything that could explain how everything in the universe behaved the way it did. Well, he never succeeded.

As we read every day about government mismanagement, incompetence and corruption with this department or that politician and think in terms of each being an isolated problem, I believe we need to develop a Unified Theory of Bad Government to have any chance at understanding and fixing it. I think it boils down to this: greed and incompetence in whom we elect.

So what can be done? In theory, elect people who aren’t greedy and/or incompetent. Unfortunately that probably won’t happen anytime soon because there just aren’t enough citizens who keep informed or care. As long as we elect people because we “like” them, or because they promise us things we say we want without any thought on how to pay for them, nothing will ever get better. You know, Einstein also said, “Insanity is doing the same thing over and over again and expecting different results.”

We have to understand that politicians are as interested in their careers, money, perks as most people but unlike most people they are “public servants” and we expect them to first and foremost serve us and not their own self-interests. Our politicians — local, national and even worldwide — are leading us down an unsustainable economic path in order to maintain the status quo and thus their jobs. The truth is we can’t afford the government we say we want, and our current politicians are way in over their collective heads and have no idea how to fix the multitrillion-dollar debt crises we have put on the next generations. We’ll enjoy the goodies today and let our kids deal with the bill.

So what to do? Well, we will never get rid of greed. I don’t think the people with the big brains and good intentions will ever run for office in this corrupt, money-driven mess we call government. I fear it will take shocks to the system, Debt such as bankrupt pensions or big cuts in health care or very high taxes, or the absence of jobs or most likely all of the above to wake us up and demand changes in the political class and our own behavior. If you think this can’t happen, just pick up a history book.

David Epstein


New Orleans