Monday, December 16, 2013

The Practical Pragmatist

Just git-r-done, but with some thought

Since 2013 is almost through and I still have some shopping to do, this post is a bit short in length and depth. Let me offer two straightforward and practical rules for governing:

1. Higher taxes and austerity are bad ideas in a weak economy.
What did Congress do in 2013? They took money out of consumer pockets with an increase in payrolls taxes and out of our government's budget with the Budget Control Act of 2011 (also known as "sequestration"). The result? The economy just skidded along.

2. Tax cuts and profligacy are bad ideas in a strong economy.
What did Congress do before the Great Recession? They put more money in consumer hands without cutting government expenditures thereby fanning the flames at the top of the business cycle – only to watch it crash in a heap when the fuel ran out.

Sir Francis Bacon wrote that "knowledge itself is power". From power comes responsibility, but not always the wisdom and humility to accept responsibility. Emil Faber said "knowledge is good". And if you understand the source of that quote, you'll also understand when I say the 113th Congress "has no grade point average. All courses incomplete." Just keeping the wheels on isn't getting it done.

Let's be practical and smart, setting expectations while tailoring the solutions to the circumstances. "Pragmatists develop their philosophy around the idea that the function of thought is as an instrument or tool for prediction, action, and problem solving," so says an article in Wikipedia.

Predict. Act. Solve. I like that. That's practical and gittin-r-done. That's doing good and doing it well.