Thursday, May 23, 2013

Government Priorities ... Doing the Wrong Things Poorly ... All Talk and No Action on the Important Stuff

A familiar expression is that if we're doing the wrong thing, we're probably doing it poorly. That reminds me of government and its focus today.

In addition to the dysfunctional aspects of governing as evidenced by the aftermath of Benghazi, the IRS overreach and the AP spying matters, government is debating about gun laws and immigration currently, and my guess is that it's performing poorly in each and every case. Even worse, it's doing the wrong things.

The three things that really matter most --- (1) how to create more and better jobs, (2) how to grow the economy and reduce our budget deficits, and (3) how to improve the way our dysfunctional government operates are receiving lots of conversation, of course, but little if any positive action.

Thus, the government knows best gang is focusing on doing the wrong things and therefore doing those things poorly. That said, it's all talk and no action when it comes to the important business that needs our nation's attention.

While We the People know precisely what needs doing, getting our "public servants" on board and past the talking stage is proving to be the difficult part.

The contents of Guns, Immigrants and Priorities are worth considering:

"Politicians and the media are currently obsessed with two issues: gun control and illegal immigration. But according to a new Gallup poll, many people have other priorities. And rightly so.

"Americans put reforming immigration and reducing gun violence—the focus of much of the attention on Capitol Hill in recent weeks—at the bottom of a list of 12 priorities for Congress and the president to address," according to Gallup....

"Many factors come into play in determining the priority Congress and the president give to specific legislation and other policy actions, particularly including pressure from interest groups and lobbyists," said Gallup. Which is another way of saying that evidence and hard data often don't drive policy making in Washington, where politicians think nothing of manufacturing a crisis to advance an agenda.

For example, illegal border crossings peaked in 2000 are down by more than 70% since then. Net migration from Mexico, the source of a majority of illegal aliens, is currently zero. You might never know that given the alarmist tone of the debate in recent years.

Or take gun violence, another area where propaganda so often substitutes for facts. Gun homicides in the U.S. peaked in 1993. "Since then, firearm homicides have declined, dramatically through the 1990s and then more slowly since 2000," reports the Atlantic magazine, citing Justice Department figures. "Non-fatal firearm crimes have declined. And violent crime in general has gone down, too. By 2010, the firearm homicide rate in America was 49 percent lower than it was in 1993." Compare how often you hear about that trend to how often you hear about the percentage of people who favor "background checks" for gun purchases.

So, what do people want lawmakers to prioritize? According to Gallup, job creation (86%), economic growth (86%) and "making government work more efficiently" (81%) top the list. Instead of attempting to scare voters with faux crises, lawmakers might try focusing on the common sense priorities of the folks who elected them."

Summing Up

We the People know what's needed -- job creation, economic growth and a more efficient and effective government --- one that takes seriously the vow of public service on behalf of our beloved country.

Not partisan bickering and an elitist government knows best attitude and set of behaviors.

Perhaps someday we'll insist on having a government that is worthy of serving the people and that is interested in doing just and not merely intent on serving itself.

Let's hope so.

Thanks. Bob.

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