Moving to the World that Works
In our last article on gas prices, we noted a four-point plan to bring down gas prices — a quick review in case you missed it:
- Drill Here. Drill Now. Pay Less. We can do it safely, so the time is now to start developing what resources we have (More from American Solutions).
- Formulate a real energy policy (no rhetoric allowed) — including biofuel, nuclear, coal, hydrogen, wind, and solar — all are on the table and workable in at least some situations. Additionally, government should remove silly bureaucratic rules which impede R&D.
- A Kennedy-esqe commitment to getting the job done. No excuses. Young people under 30 don’t remember that kind of national commitment, but if you recall Kennedy’s speech calling for a moon landing before 1970 you know how it rallied the cause, and produced results beyond what we thought technologically capable (in 1962 our space program was, well, nonexistent).
- Accept no excuses — demand action.This is a non-partisan issue. The left gets what they want (alternative energy, higher MPG standards, biofuel, etc), while the right gets increased drilling and production. Neither partisan side “wins” — the citizen does. Isn’t that what government is for?
For some, these could be new concepts. They are a break from the current and past, so we’ll show specific examples of how this works in practice; it’s not an untested idea — these methods have been used in the past, and quite successfully (by any definition) — all implementation stems from one simple idea:
Government should run by the business principle of handling transactions in a specific way — product “X”, qty “Y”, date “D” for payment “Q”, with penalty “Z” for late delivery, and incentive “M” for early delivery.
No mandates, subsidies, nationalization, rhetoric, vague goals, corporate welfare, economic control, handouts, or investment for no rewards — just straight business transactions with specific results for specific dollars. No results, no $$$. It’s (essentially) risk-free. It’s the exact same method the business world uses every day, and it’s quite successful as no business owner wants to pour money down a sinkhole for no return. Rewards for early success, penalties for late delivery, just apply those same business concepts to government to move from a world that fails to a world that works.
That’s quite a simple principle, yet causes profound change in a system that’s used to failure. Of course, some will complain, others will say it can’t be done; for naysayers consider the following examples where such a simple principle has worked — it’s not a vague abstract idea.
- The 1994 Northridge earthquake. In January 1994 an earthquake in Northridge, California measuring 6.7 on the Richter scale shattered the overpass bridges of Interstate 10 … the repair would take more than two years … but I-10 was restored to public use not in two years but two months.
- The California Government Code gives the governor the ability to invoke “emergency powers” that can suspend, for the duration of an emergency, any regulations and statues that might impede or delay recovery.
- Performance contracting sped performance … contractors would receive a bonus of $200,000 for each day before completion date. For each day past the date, contractors would incur penalty of $200,000. As every day the bridge was close cost California’s economy an estimated $600,000, Wilson’s plan was a cost-efficient incentive
- In April 2997, a gasoline tanker truck crashed on a ramp in Oakland … repairs were expected to take fifty days and cost $5.2 million.
- Incentives produced speed. The California Department of Transportation set a deadline and promised bidders a $200,000 bonus for every day they could finish the repairs before it, not to exceed total of $5 million. … completed the project in 17 days — almost three times faster than the original estimate and more than $4 million under budget
- Serious problems merited serious response … The contractor had workers and equipment on the scene 15 minutes before the actual signing of the contract. Shop drawings were approved in hours, not months …
Those examples come from Newt Gingrich’s book “Real Change”, page 181-182. Yet those aren’t the only areas.
- NASA and the 60’s space program. When the commitment is made, what was previously thought impossible becomes ordinary. Unfortunately, younger people don’t remember what Kennedy proposed was widely thought impossible. Yet the “impossible” goal was accomplished, on time.
- Y2K — In this case, it’s a good thing the engineers didn’t listen to the crowd who said do nothing; instead they went out and actually solved the problem. Those that understood the problem devised solutions, and solved the problem on time.
So we have multiple examples of success in reality, not the textbook — it’s not an abstract unproven theory. What do all these successful implementations have in common? Point 3 of the plan — a Kennedy-esq commitment to getting the job done. The appropriate pressure, applied to the right people, yields commitment to solutions and results. No excuses, but common sense and engineering gets the job done.
It’s a win-win for everyone. Of course, there will be those that complain; no matter, there are always people stuck in old group-think. Others quibble over details — so be it, they can continue to rearrange deck chairs while everyone else implements real solutions (it will keep ’em busy and out of the way). So let’s get the objections out of the way:
- It’s corporate welfare! It’s handouts! — No, it’s not. Every business runs by the exact same principle (specific payments for specific results, penalties for being late, incentives for delivering early). If you want to call it corporate welfare, then every business transaction over the entire economy on the whole planet is corporate welfare (if you want to define it that way, fine, we’ll agree everything is corporate welfare — when IBM buys paperclips from Office Depot, it’s corporate welfare).
- It’s government control of the economy! That’s absurd — it’s no more influence or control than any other business uses to get results — every business does the exact same thing (specific payments for specific results, penalties for being late, incentives for delivering early) — no overall government regulations are called for, or required. (again, if you want to define terms so that every business transaction falls under your definition, fine. The other 99.95% of us won’t.).
- We can’t do it! Those forget it works, and has in multiple examples. It has worked in the past, it will work in the future.
- People can’t change. This is the most reasonable objection, and one which needs actual work. There are always people vested in the status quo, or who fear doing something different, or actually like the system of failure which now exists. There’s not one solution to this problem, as it’s really a management issue, not an engineering one, and each group will be different. This is the hardest problem to solve, as inertia is a powerful force.
- Others will find other reasons to do nothing but preserve the current system of failure — those on the extremes always object to anything not agreeing with their dogma. And on and on and on, ad nauseum.
The idea is simple — use the same principle used daily by companies everywhere and apply it to the government — with the proven results vastly superior to the mode of failure we’re all used to. Nothing more is needed, nothing less will do. No nationalizing of industries, no subsides for failed solutions, no takeover of the economy.
If you’re interested, you might want to check out American Solutions. They have common-sense proposals with broad support of both Democrats and Republicans — supported by up to 90% of the American people. Have a look at their Platform of the American People for more information (it’s Newt’s idea that “real change requires real change”, with his book laying out in detail what fails and what works, and how government can move from a model of failure to one that works).
Also should consider the following book recommendations (Newt’s book is one, the other is a Democratic liberal):
- Real Change. Newt’s book details the principles, answering objections, and giving examples of both the world that works, and the world that fails.
- Tammy Bruce’s The New American Revolution (Tammy describes herself as “an openly gay, pro-choice, gun owning, pro-death penalty, voted-for-President Bush authentic feminist. A lifelong Democrat, in the 1990s she worked to help elect Senators Feinstein and Boxer, and aided the Clinton for President campaign … “
Both books should be on your reading list.
We can quibble over implementation details ad nauseum forever, or get the job done; we take the moderate approach between the extremes of “wait-for-later” and “nationalize-everything”.
The question is simple:
We all see the iceberg ahead (the end of oil, spiraling energy prices, global conflict over dwindling resources, calls for nationalized everything, and so on), shall we take action and change course, or spend time rearranging the deck chairs and wait for that pesky iceberg thing to resolve itself?
Real change requires real change.