Politics isn't exactly Euclidean geometry.
The internal angles of the triangle don't have to sum to 180 degrees.
Indeed, it's a political plus to be able to propound two mutually incompatible propositions at once. Policies don't need to add up or possess internal consistency. In fact, it's best they don't.
People don't vote for reason or logic.
Their attraction to politics is that it makes two plus two equal five. Voters want magic with democratic success and government power. That allows them the hope that government fairy dust can relieve their daily grind.
It's no fun to be a politician trying to explain there's no government magic. We don't as children trust or like the kid who tells us there's no Father Christmas. Voters feel the same about a politician telling them they can't have what they want.
It's far easier and more fun to play along and ham it up. Sure, politicians run the risk of looking stupid to the few who can see there's no government fairy dust. But they're the very few. And politicians aren't stupid; they're just doing what politicians do.
What politicians do is pander to voters with their hands out. So, too, do the media. It makes for easy news.
The same whingers screaming for handouts vociferously oppose privatisation. That, too, makes for easy news. The contradiction is that, for the government to spend more, it must borrow more. That means loading up more debt.
The whingers oppose equity investment but promote extra debt. The inconsistency is glaring but completely ignored. It doesn't add up. But then it doesn't have to. Political reporting is just "he said, she said" and a comment on the politics. There's no reality checker in political reporting.
The reality is the government is borrowing $10 billion a year. That's a whopping sum. GST would have to be bumped from 15% to 25% just to balance the budget. No political party would survive that hike.
We are already taxed to the political max and hitting hard Kiwis not yet born. The advantage of increasing debt is that it has no immediate political consequence: the future doesn't vote.
For all its huff and puff, National's proposed selldown of assets is trivial. It won't even cover this year's excessive spending. Still, Labour opposes it.
But Labour wants to legislate extra spending to extend paid parental leave. The proposition is for government to borrow even more to pay mothers not to work. It's absurd.
It makes no sense to borrow to pay people not to produce. And the politicians promising to run up more debt are the very ones opposing increased equity investment. It doesn't add up.
But it's politics. It doesn't have to.
There's also the deeper moral inconsistency. We are each here today because our ancestors continuously over millions of years were smart enough and tough enough to survive and to prosper and to provide for their young. Most didn't.
It's a good test that would-be parents should first have the wherewithal, the brains, the strength and the commitment to take responsibility for their own children before having them. That's the test that applied for millennia.
Welfarism has removed that parental test. The consequence is daily evident in our streets and on our news.
It used to be tough for women: they had to find a mate who had the ability to provide for them and their children. That in turn made it tough for men.
It's all easier now: we just vote for everyone else to pay for our kids.
It's just a shame the government fairy dust doesn't look after this generation's children the way our nanas and grandads looked after theirs.
That's the triangle that politics sadly can't stack up.