February 23, 2011

Not All Problems Solved in 42 Minutes

Tim Nester made some good points this week on his TalkLansing.net radio program.
Tim pointed out that success in a strategy requires patience. The Chinese have a long-term plan for economic success, and they stick with it even when things get a little rough.

Tom Izzo, Suzie Merchant and Mark Dantonio have long-term strategies for success for their teams. They stick with it, even if it means throwing excellent players off their teams because the have failed to meet team standards.

But in politics, we don't have any patience. We want instant solutions to problems regardless of the size of the problem, and regardless of who has the true power to resolve the problem.

And we want solutions that are painless.

I call it "TV Drama Syndrome" because most television has trained us to believe that all issues can be resolved in 42 minutes plus commercials – the length of an episode of a drama show. Problem, investigation, complications and solutions in an hour. With sitcoms is a half-hour from problem to solution. It's that simple.
In Washington, Barack Obama had about 6 months to clean up the huge economic mess left behind by George W. Bush (recently ranked the 5th worst president in our history).

Turning around an economy is like reversing the course of an aircraft carrier: you can't turn it on a dime. It has been a challenge that even Aaron Sorkin couldn't solve in one hour of prime time TV.

So Obama's opponents start complaining that his economic program wasn't working even before it was enacted. (Republicans announced their intention to fight everything he proposed before the inauguration so, for them, failure was the only option.)
The facts show the stimulus program has worked, preventing the loss of an additional 2-to-3 million jobs, significantly increasing the GDP, restoring confidence on Wall Street.

Republicans, who wanted the program to fail so they could win in 2010 elections, immediately labeled the stimulus program a "failure". They ginned up the ridiculous concept that the stimulus could only be considered a success if unemployment dropped to 5% immediately.

They hope to gut the Affordable Healthcare Act by tanking by withholding funding for implementation. They will cripple it just enough so it doesn't do enough to reform our healthcare system, and then claim the original plan was at fault when the reality will be the half-assed implementation demanded by Republicans.

My conclusions:

1. We need to give big plans time to work. The Obama economic plan and healthcare plan should be given time to work before the opposition starts chipping away at it.

2. As Americans, we've got to stop falling for the the demagogues who tell us it's always someone else at fault (e.g., public employees, school teachers, unions) and take some personal responsibility.

3. As Americans, we should demand that we back off the Republican drive to give complete functional control of government to business leaders, the brilliant visionaries who gave us things like the Wall Street meltdown, oil-flavored Gulf of Mexico seafood and $39 overdraft fees. Making rich people even richer is not a formula for building a strong middle class.

Above all, we need to recognize that not all problems will be solved in 42 minutes (plus commercials).


  1. Non elected bureaucrats in the treasury department and the gao office are in bed with big banks and insurance companies...our elected officials are not smart enough to figure this out, republican and democrat. Why are you worried about how much money your neighbor is making? There will always be the rich, the jealous poor and a silent middle class.

  2. Your introductory statement is, of course, a ridiculous generalization. I'd be happy to apply it to a majority of Congress and Fox News, but not the entire bureaucracy.

    Why am I worried about my neighbor? Maybe it because I have a conscience, and it's not always about me.

    I don't recall the Bible passage that says "every man for himself." I do, however, remember something about being your brother's keeper.