Tuesday, 8 December 2009

The Human Cost of Politics

I would highly recommend this Washington Post article which interviews Neel Kashkari, the man who was appointed as the 'Bailout Czar' by US Treasury Secretary Hank Paulson during the depths of the economic crisis. He was responsible for handling $700 billion of federal funds, effectively leading the fight to save the US economy from complete financial meltdown.

What the story demonstrates is the sacrifice and human cost that is demanded of many public servants, and which is sadly lost in the maelstrom of disgust which many people feel for politicians and civil servants just now. One of his colleagues had a heart attack and Kashkari himself saw his weight balloon amidst the stress of the situation. Politicians who in private were understanding of what he was trying to do used public hearings to savage him, caring not a jot for the human involved in the situation while they tried to score points. His team worked through the night and he got to the stage where his wife felt they were dead to each other, so little and rare was their meaningful contact.

What is inspiring is that he did it, he succeeded. However the cost of his efforts, now starting to be lauded but the cause of brutal attack during his time working for the Government (a position which he had taken a massive pay cut to fulfil) were massive.

Has got me thinking about some of the implications of political life which act as barriers to people putting themselves forward, will blog more on it at a later date.