Today, British Columbia (a province of Canada) and the Canadian federal government agreed on a plan to repay around $1.6 billion dollars to the federal government from the province. The reasoning behind this entire issue borders on the insane. Basically, the Federal government decided to promote the amalgamation of taxation, or the creation of a new tax entitled the HST, or Harmonized Sales Tax. Simply, the tax combines the Federal GST and Provincial PST together into one tax. Basically, it creates a more efficient taxation system but also does increase taxes by a minor amount per family - around $400 or so per family.
British Columbia instituted the HST, collected the money from the Federal government, and also made concessions to the citizens of BC in order to appease them. Namely, reversing the 7% portion of the HST on gas/diesel sales (Ontario this did not happen).
Then political populism came into play.
Politicians spreading propaganda about the new tax to simply place the current government on the defensive attacked the HST. This manifested itself into a referendum, which reversed the HST. So, after all the bureaucratic work that went into the creation of the tax, it was reversed and BC will now lose almost $2 billion because of the idiocy of the people.
It is questionable if the majority of people who voted on the HST even knew both sides of the issue and had the mind to make a independent and informed vote. Actually, it's not questionable, it's probable due to the results.
This example is one of many around the world that can show the problems of democracy today. Politicians using populist anthems to attract votes is becoming quite annoying. A majority of people do not understand the complex financial system that allow the creation of pensions, a social security net or even post secondary education funding programs. It is easy to vote in favour of these programs, it is very hard to reverse or remove these programs - which most politicians will not touch.
The world needs to find politicians who have the courage to stand for realistic solutions to problems, instead of temporary solutions that buy votes.