If tax cuts are spending, shouldn’t liberals want more tax cuts?

According to her comments, Nancy Pelosi considers tax cuts to be spending.

If Pelosi really believed this, shouldn’t she be as supportive of tax cuts as she is of real spending increases?

What’s the difference? Does she think tax cuts are irresponsible spending? If so, are there any other types of government spending she considers irresponsible?

My guess, the only stuff she finds irresponsible are changes that put more in the hands of citizens and less in the hands of government.


“I hope that works out for you”

Subtitle: Ideas are cheap; results matter

I’ve worked in many places that have an unhealthy incentive problem where ideas are rewarded and results are not.

People with fresh, new ideas were the movers and shakers. They could do even better if they could argue in hostile forums why their ideas would work  (folks who gain success at this are also called bullies).

The problem was that nobody asked these folks to prove their ideas with actual results.   Ideas won and lost by how passionately their champions fought for them and how good they sounded, not whether they worked or not. Often, ideas won out because the champions essentially repeated over and over, “I just know it will work! We have to try it.”

If your idea was selected by management, you were golden. If the idea later failed, there were plenty of excuses used. It was executed poorly. The messaging wasn’t right. It just wasn’t the right time. Rarely did the idea champions or the management who green lighted the idea ever just come out and say, maybe this just isn’t something customers value.

This environment generated lots of ideas and lots of infighting to get ideas selected, but not a lot of results.

I was never in charge, but I had the ear of some of the folks that were, once or twice removed, and I started a subtle campaign to curb this toxic, non-results driven, environment.

I suggested that the folks who had the ideas be responsible for proving them out with real world results and, since they usually felt with such passion that their ideas would work, I suggested they carry out their ideas within their own budgets. Why not? You are so sure it’ll work, put your money where your mouth is. If this will work so well, this should help you achieve your targets.

I coined a phrase, “You should give it a try. I hope that works out for you.”

The folks with the ideas use to win when someone in management would say, “Okay, we’ll try your idea.”  Now they started hearing, “You should give it a try. Let us know how it goes. I hope that works out for you.”

Suddenly, the folks with the great ideas were more open to criticism of their ideas and shooting holes in them before they got started proving them out, because they were more concerned whether the idea would actually work and less concerned if a few decision-makers in management would pick it.

I was reminded of this when I read a recent blog post on Arnold Kling’s askblog, The Left’s Post-Election Self Examination, where he comments on a leftist’s suddenly (post-election) more critical examination of Obamacare.

When Obamacare passed, it was easy for Democrats to claim victory that they had “fixed” health care. The actual results of their great idea wouldn’t be known until after the next election cycle, since that’s when it would start kicking in. They were like the folks at my work who got their idea selected by management.

One positive to this year’s election outcome is that many of the people in the Senate and the person in the White House responsible for passing Obamacare will still be here when the Obamacare realities begin to materialize and they may be held to account for the results of their great idea.

I wasn’t surprised to hear talk of Nancy Pelosi considering stepping-down as House minority leader shortly have the election. She’s probably thinking it would be good to get out of the spotlight before the Obamacare stuff starts to hit the fan.

Not surprising either that the leftist that Kling commented on is becoming more critical of Obamacare. This is what I saw happen to the idea-folks when they were faced with answering to the results of their ideas.

So, perhaps one unintended positive outcome of this election is that the American people are told the folks responsible for Obamacare, “Let’s give this a try. I hope that works out for you.”

Flunkies in DC

This is from Fred Barnes’ (of the Weekly Standard) opinion piece in the Wall Street Journal today:

In the days before Tuesday’s passage of an increase in the debt limit, Ms. Pelosi was melodramatic in her attacks on the cuts in domestic spending that Republicans attached to the debt measure. Her comment that Democrats were trying “to save life on this planet as we know it” was widely reported.

But Ms. Pelosi said a lot more. She suggested the Founding Fathers would have opposed the cuts. “We owe it to honor the sacrifice of the Founders” to reject the cuts, she declared. Not only that, but she asserted it was unconstitutional [this is the same person who thought the insurance mandate was Constitutional] for Republicans to raise the possibility of defaulting on the debt payments.

As for House Speaker John Boehner, “he chose to go to the dark side,” Ms. Pelosi said. She added that Republicans are “destroying the public space of clean air, clean water, food safety, the education of our children, the health, financial security of our seniors through Medicare and Medicaid.”

Later Barnes writes:

According to Politico, Rep. Mike Doyle of Pennsylvania accused Republicans of being terrorists. “We have negotiated with terrorists,” he said. “This small group of terrorists have made it impossible to spend any money.” Friendly journalists joined in. Columnist Joe Nocera of the New York Times wrote: “Tea Party Republicans have waged jihad on the American people.”

I know politics is politics, but these political views and views of government are absurd and are the very reason we are in this mess.

Pelosi and Doyle should not have passed whatever grade it was where they learned about government, let alone hold public office where they took an oath to support and defend a Constitution they seem to know so little about.

I have to believe that it’s this absurdity that’s finally exposing folks like Pelosi and Doyle to the voting public.  In response to Doyle’s ad hominem characterization of his opponents as terrorists, Barnes writes:

The American people don’t think so. In a Rasmussen poll at the end of July, at the height of the debt debate, Republicans were preferred over Democrats in congressional races 43% to 39%. And a CNN poll released Tuesday found that only 15% of Americans felt the cuts in the debt-limit bill had “gone too far.”

But, I don’t find these poll figures as cheery as Barnes.  Given the level of absurdity, I would expect a much lower preference for Democrats and the gap between Republicans and Democrats to be larger.  Maybe 43% for Republicans and 15% (closer to the percent of people who thought the cuts “gone too far”) or 20% for Democrats.

The source of the problem isn’t Pelosi and Doyle.  The source of problem are voters who continue to vote for them.  And, as I discovered by reading Joe and Blake Kernan’s book (I will comment on that in another post) the problem with such voters is that they share their view of government with many 10-year-old children.  On top of that, they don’t often entertain the idea that they might be wrong.

Pelosi Mentions the Dinner Table

In a Q&A session this week with children of journalists, Nancy Pelosi mentions the Dinner Table.  One child asked, “Why are there so many problems with the government?”

The beginning of her answer:

I think I’m getting a tenor of the dinner table conversation at home. I guess this is not an appropriate time to talk about the previous administration, then.

Read more about it and see the video here.
From the looks of it the journalist parents could learn a thing or two from their kids.  To Nancy Pelosi’s point, I wish more of the narrative that took place in the general media would carry the tenor of dinner table conversations.