You've missed the most important reason - being seen Doing Something About The Problem(tm). _That_ affects things immediately. The really important ones - odds of getting re-elected. Granted, not by much, but what does it cost?
As for making the populace more infantile, what timescale would that be on? Decades? Not even on the radar. Do you seriously buy into the notion of politicians capable of making decades-long plans and sticking to them?
 and before gvy starts bemoaning the Inherent Evils of Democracy and suggesting everyone to learn Russian, s/re-elected/picked for promotion by higher-level management/; slightly different target audience, but mechanism is the same.
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