I don’t really expect politicians to publicly acknowledge costs. They’re essentially there to win battles, not debate policy. It’s also why I don’t expect anything interesting from what a politician says publicly.
Oops - you’ve triggered a hot button. Forgive me for one my rants (not aimed at you, just a generic rant)…
I’m far more concerned about the thousands of channels (such as this blog) where such policies are hashed out. After all, if one cannot acknowledge the costs of a policy, one is scarcely likely to be able to evaluate its overall benefit. Worse than that, people often so resent the fact that there is a cost that they end up demonizing those who will suffer (“well, they deserve it.” being typical rationalization.)
I once challenged a group of people to state their favourite policy and then give three ways that that policy will cause harm. The presumption, of course, was that they felt the benefits of the policy strongly outweighed the harms.
It was eye-opening, if a little disheartening. Many were angry, most confused. How could you support a policy if you felt it caused harm? (My reply of “How can you support a policy in which you can’t enumerate the harms?” was not well received :-)).
So one of my bug-bears is to clearly enumerate the costs of any policy I support. Yet I still find it amazing (because I’m a slow learner) how many people ignore the “I support this policy” part of the sentence and assume that I must disagree with it because I’ve pointed out a negative element.
– end rant
Indeed, which is why I agree that we’d be better off with some limitation on allowed incentives. But that doesn’t mean there’s no price.