Tuesday, January 27, 2009

On second thought ...


I do want to know how sausage is made ...

Transparency. Go ahead and do a search on how many times somebody has mentioned that word in the past week or so. Transparency. What does it mean? Or better yet, what is the symbolism behind the word? Its a great idea; transparency. The problem is, the land of the free and the home of the Atlanta Braves is also the most secretive, compartmentalized, technocratic, red-taped and dysfunctional form of government the world has ever seen. And those are our virtues. We are not wired for transparency. We can talk about it all day, and espouse the wonders of a "clear and transparent" government, but until we get a peek at how the sausage of public policy is really made there will be no such day.

I really hope this blog goes viral. That 150,000 people read it in the next week and the inertia of its message is so pulverizing that Obama himself has to mention my name on his weekly You-Tube dog n' pony. I really think it will change the world. But I know it wont. So here I go talking to myself again....

Here's a few things Government can do to really be transparent:

* Make every high-level economic meeting's minutes public within 30-days of their occurrence. Why 30 days and not immediately? The news cycle is too quick. You got to allow the politicians to be able to take problems head on and make logical decisions without being subject to the emotions of the moment. They will still be aware that their language -salty as it is- and content of their conversations will be published in a month. That alone may edit the way they talk, but at least America will see the type of argumentation that goes on behind closed doors up on the hill.

* TARP Money? Immediately launch a super-duper Treasure Dept web-site that keeps a line-item by line-item and clearly-identified narrative of where the hell every printed dollar winds up, who spent it, where it's kept and where its going. 700 billion is a lot of fuckin' money, pardon my English 101, and we are letting 535 politicians play and haggle with it like it was an obscure and abstract thing that really has no meaning or value to us today. If we don't flood Washington with this demand then we demand to get our asses boinked.

* Economic Stimulus?... I want somebody in Government (and Prez Obama would be a nice choice,... if he has the stones), to stand up and say the following for the sake of my transparent needs: "The economic stimulus plan will work because we have X and Y model-examples of the past where the same type of spending occurred and this type of result was immediately apparent. Not only do I guarantee it is going to work, but I will back it up with this promise. If it doesn't work, then both the Treasure Secretary and I will resign within 24 months of the day the bill is signed into law" ... Transparency I can believe in ...


* I think every Congressman, Senator, President, State and local Legislator should put their daily meeting and visitor logs on their website for all the world to see. You say special interest Lobbyist will not have any influence? Then let it be the law that you have to disclose EVERY single lobbyist you come across during your public service tenure. Be it in your office, at dinner, or while sitting in the commode at some Airport. Oh yeah, while you're are it, put in a summary of the minutes and agenda in there as well. After all, my tax dollars are paying your salaries, so like a good supervisor I want to know what the hell you are doing during my time. Can't be done? Well hell, College Football Coaches have to disclose what recruits they "bump into" during recruiting season, right?....

* Finally I think President Obama should install a web-cam in the white house. I will even say kill the audio (OK, so people will still read lips). But whats wrong with that? Jefferson used to let people walk into the White House and see him with no appointment or email. He didn't even have a Blackberry. I just want to make sure he is working and not trying to break my record on Brickbreaker ...

There. I fixed the lack of transparency in 48 minutes. I did it without a blue-ribbon commission, a bi-partisan panel, a consultant's blessing, or by following the will of the people. I just went into "Nike" mode. I just did it.

Barry,... you play basketball, right?... .c'mon man... try on a pair Nike's on your dome.... Just do it.

11 comments:

Brooke said...

I think you've devised a fantastic laundry list for real transparence, TP.

TRUTH-PAIN said...

Thank you Brooke... I think I did not do bad considering laptop's "W" was sticking.... :)

Patrick M said...

"The economic stimulus plan will work because we have X and Y model-examples of the past where the same type of spending occurred and this type of result was immediately apparent."

He can't do that. The model for this "stimulus" plan is the New Deal. And since v1.0 didn't work, what chance does Obama's New Deal v2.0 have?

TRUTH-PAIN said...

well I know that he cant do that, .... I just with he had the gumption to say "look, the model I have for this stimulus has no reference points blah-blah-blah,..and the political waters are such that I have do to something,... since doing nothing is a non-starter..."
It would probably loose him 10 approval points overnight... but it would sure make me notice....

Robert said...

You do know why this won't work, right? Although you have a knack for reducing mountain sized issues into easily surmountable obstacles...

Transparency would not show the following from PBO's stimulus plan:

$886,000 for Disc Football field in California
$650 million for HDTV converter coupons
$6 billion to improve broadband internet in rural areas

How many jobs does that create? How many times will that currency turn over in the markletplace?

Divide it by the number of citizens and you egt $2700. My vote is that we do it that way,...

CB said...

You're all over it and got me fired up! This is our country right? Our government? Who is working for who?

rockync said...

OK, except for the camera (too big brother for me) I agree. The most frustrating part of this new stimulus has been the lack of access to this proposal.
Hey, I would have been happy with a condensed version of bullet points - anything to be able to see exactly what is going where.
And, if no one else can see this, just where are people getting information about what is in it? I keep seeing all these wild expenditures but no proof they exist. If someone knows where to find this sort of documentation I would love to know where to find it.
Don't forget, the last administration was no better - I didn't see any plan there when they dumped all that cash on Wall Street.
This administration is no better, or worse, either. At the end of the day, it's all politics...

Ms.Green said...

You dream big, my friend.

I'm afraid all of our dreams will evolve into nightmares shortly.

Renegade Eye said...

I'm not certain releasing notes of meetings immediately or later is a principle. I think it depends on what is discussed. Some issues need immediate response, from all involved. Soundbites will happen no matter.

I would add the right to recall.

AI said...

Yes, and you achieved such without monumental change and spin. Hell of a wish list TP ... Have you noticed how your new leader seems to thrive on talking up the economic crises, as if it isn't bad enough.

I had originally written the following about our PM but it applies equally to Obama.

Personally, I think he is enjoying the crises, much like the Greek mythic figure Oedipus who fulfills the oracle’s prophecy that he will kill his father and marry his mother, by striving to avoid the prophecy. Obama, true to form in talking down economies while talking up a crises, will inadvertently bring about a worse than would otherwise be economic crises, in this instance, the prediction that could otherwise be false but is made true by Obama’s words and deeds.

D.S.Harford said...

Lots of luck