Puzzle through this. Apparently our personal reputation and likeability are at odds with good policy:
Here’s how the study helps explain some of the dynamics that paralyze the American political process. The backbone of good public policy is the act of screwing over a small population for the greater good. Almost no policies benefit everybody, but if you can create a relatively large benefit for a small cost you should do it, and the idea is that voters will understand what you did and like you. However, if people can acknowledge you created good policy while simultaneously thinking less of you for it, that’s an enormous disincentive to create good policy. And because almost all good policy involves screwing somebody, it’s not hard for people to come up with a reason to think less of you for it, especially when your opposition is constantly on every TV network explaining why you’re a bad person. Suddenly the 10% of people who are screwed by your policy are trumping the 90% of people your policy helps. At the end of the day it becomes better for your personal reputation to do nothing.
Interesting conclusion, but I need more support for this claim – ” The backbone of good public policy is the act of screwing over a small population for the greater good.” First one has to define “screwing”. Progressives tend to define it as “not giving people stuff” while conservatives define it as “offending people’s values”. But either way, I don’t think all good policy requires the majority have their way with a minority “for the greater good” or otherwise.