Ethics in the 2012 Election Race

With just days until the Iowa caucuses, Michael Josephson, president of the Josephson Institute of Ethics, said he’s looking at the 2012 presidential race through two lenses.

Policy ethics – those concerned with the fair distribution of wealth – and integrity ethics are key to understanding how organizations and governments are upholding their obligations, Josephson said.

"I’m as concerned with the fact that Congress can’t and won’t do its job, that they have sort of a bloated sense of self-righteousness that parades as integrity where they are literally not doing their jobm" he said. "They’ve made politics a game."

As Republican candidates vie for the nomination to go up against President Barack Obama, Josephson said the meaning behind the campaigns has been lost.

"I don’t have much hope for this campaign because the people in charge of the campaign really aren’t the campaign people," Josephson said. "It’s the media … playing the stories like it’s a game, you know, and running it every day like it’s a … horse race, and the fact that the public is tolerating it."

Although 2011 saw the political consciousness of U.S. citizens grow, Josephson said, the nation’s government and the people it serves continue to grow apart.

"Sometimes it’s because the people don’t want to be responsible, too. In fairness, there are problems with the government but the people don’t want to pay for anything and yet they want everything," he said. "We need a responsible citizenry just like we need a responsible group of politicians."

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