Failure Is Not An Option In Government, So We’ll Pretend Its Success

    Do not think about, write about or deal with  human behavior without determining the effects of incentives.
 

There’s an old joke about a restaurant. Two customers are talking about the food. The first says, “I don’t know why I keeping coming here, the food is terrible.”

   “Too true,” said the other, “And the portions are small.”

  Wherein we see that a leading liberal admits that government agencies are useless. The solution? Increase their size and number. Yep, that’ll make it better.

National Post – (Latest Edition)
Charles Krauthammer in Washington

Obama’s loss of faith
Only after introducing a string of failed programs has the President admitted that Big Government isn’t always effective

In explaining the disastrous roll out of Obamacare, U.S. president Barack Obama told Chris Matthews he had discovered that “we have these big agencies, some of which are outdated, some of which are not designed properly.”

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   The proper solution is obviously to keep them as they are.

An interesting discovery to make after having consigned the vast universe of American medicine, one-sixth of the U.S. economy, to the tender mercies of the agency bureaucrats at the Department of Health and Human Services and the Internal Revenue Service.

Most people become aware of the hopeless inefficiency of sclerotic government by, oh, 17, at the department of motor vehicles. Obama’s late discovery is especially remarkable considering that he built his entire political philosophy on the rock of Big Government, on the fervent belief in the state as the very engine of collective action and the ultimate source of national greatness. (Indeed, of individual success as well, as in “If you’ve got a business — you didn’t build that. Somebody else made that happen.”)

This blinding revelation of the ponderous incompetence of bureaucratic government came just a few weeks after Obama confessed that, “what we’re also discovering is that insurance is complicated to buy.” Another light bulb goes off, this one three years after passing a law designed to force millions of Americans to shop for new health plans via the maze of untried, untested, insecure, unreliable online “exchanges.”

This discovery joins a long list that includes Obama’s rueful admission that there really are no shovel-ready jobs. That one came after having passed his monstrous $830-billion stimulus on the argument that the weakened economy would be “jumpstarted” by a massive infusion of shovel-ready jobs. Now known to be fictional.


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  The fact is that the “stimulus” didn’t work, but that won’t prevent it from being done again. The problem is that politicians would rather do something, even if counterproductive than nothing, even if productive. This comes from the basic assumption that government action is always necessary. No one hears about the Depression of 1921 which lasted a couple of years because the government did nothing. One does hear about the Great Depression which lasted 16 years because the government did hundreds of things.

Barack Obama is not just late to discover the most elementary workings of government. With alarming regularity, he professes obliviousness to the workings of his own government. He claims, for example, to have known nothing about the IRS targeting scandal, the AP phone records scandal, the NSA tapping of Angela Merkel. And had not a clue that the centrepiece of his signature legislative achievement — the online Obamacare “exchange ,” three years in the making — would fail catastrophically upon launch. Or that Obamacare would cause millions of Americans to lose their private health plans.

Hence the odd spectacle of a president expressing surprise and disappointment in the federal government — as if he’s not the one running it. Hence the repeated no-oneis-more-upset-than-me posture upon deploring the nonfunctioning website, the IRS outrage, the AP intrusions and any number of scandals from which Obama tries to create safe distance by posing as an observer. He gives the impression of a man on a West Wing tour trying out the desk in the Oval Office, only to be told that he is president of the United States.

The paradox of this presidency is that this most passive bystander president is at the same time the most ideologically ambitious in decades. The sweep and scope of his health-care legislation alone is unprecedented. He’s spent billions of tax money attempting to create, by fiat and ex nihilo, a new green economy. His (failed) cap-andtrade bill would have given him regulatory control of the energy economy. He wants universal preschool and has just announced his unwavering commitment to slaying the dragon of economic inequality, which, like the poor, has always been with us.

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   Where are those millions of “green jobs?”

Obama’s discovery that government bureaucracies don’t do things very well creates a breathtaking disconnect between his transformative ambitions and his detachment from the job itself. How does his Olympian vision coexist with the lassitude of his actual governance, a passivity that verges on absenteeism?

What bridges that gap is rhetoric. Barack Obama is a master rhetorician. It’s allowed him to move crowds, rise inexorably and twice win the most glittering prize of all. Rhetoric has changed his reality. For Obama, it can change the country’s. Hope and change, after all, is a rhetorical device. Of the kind Obama has always imagined can move mountains.

That’s why his reaction to the Obamacare website’s crash-on-takeoff is so telling. His remedy? A cross-country campaign-style speaking tour. As if rhetoric could repeal that reality.

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    One tactic of politicians is to change reality  by describing it differently.

Managing, governing , negotiating, cajoling, crafting legislation, forging compromise. For these — this stuff of governance — Obama has shown little aptitude and even less interest. Perhaps, as Valerie Jarrett has suggested, he is simply too easily bored to invest his greatness in such mundanity.

“I don’t write code,” said Obama in reaction to the website crash. Nor is he expected to. He is, however, expected to run an administration that can.

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    The only real alternative to failure is to keep doing the same thing.

Cheerio and ttfn,
Grant Coulson
Cui Bono–Cherchez les Contingencies

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