"H.L. Mencken once said that “Every election is a sort of advance auction sale of stolen goods.” The rest of the study of politics is little more than a footnote to this truth. In democratic republics, officeholders need to appeal to voters, and the best way of doing so is to identify a “crisis” and then to promise to end it when (re)elected. The measures promised typically entail an expansion of government power, but the constituencies being courted never expect to bear the brunt of that expansion. The burdens are assumed to fall on someone else."