Seth Godin did a 20 minute talk in 2006 discussing things that are broken in our society. It follows this paragraph. It is 20 minutes but it goes fast and is very entertaining. If you don’t want to take the time to view it, I’ll summarize: Many things in this world are broken and often it is because those who break them have no world view, no experience, or don’t care. Here it is:
Though I don’t agree with all that Godin says in his talk, it strikes me as a given that if it is broken, we should want it fixed. If it is broken, we will not want to use it. If it’s broken, it will not perform or do the task for which it was chosen or designed.
So my question is, “If our Government is Broken, why would anyone want to keep it going, led by the same leaders, and doing what it is doing?” In other words, why would you vote for an incumbent? Specifically, why would anyone, not related to him, vote for Mr. Obama to be reelected to continue to break down America?
So what is broken and why do I say we need to fire Mr. Obama and fix things? First an analogy – professional football. If you are a fan of the NFL, you will be able to identify with this. Let’s assume that your team has a long tradition of winning. Take my favorite team, the San Francisco 49ers. At one time, they were the true gold standard of pro football. Then they had a few leaders who underperformed and they were not the best team or even close for many years. The team owners want to win. When a team underperforms, they have two choices. They can get a new leader (coach) or the can get a new team. Invariably they choose to fire the coach and get a new one. The old coach can argue all he wants. “But I was stuck with the players chosen by the old coach and management.” “Not all the players wanted me as coach so they worked against me.” Or, my favorite, “All I can do is draw up the plays and schedule the practice time. If they can’t make it work, that’s their fault. I can’t run the plays for them.” The owners don’t listen to arguments like those. They know that the guy at the top is responsible to work with the team he is dealt and make it a winner. Complaining that his predecessor chose the wrong players or didn’t properly train them does nothing to help the team perform. Saying, “All I can do is draw up the plays….” is not leadership. That’s being a bureaucrat, a functionary. It is a symptom of one of Seth Godin’s main reasons why things are broken – the “It’s Not My Job” syndrome. Only true leadership will get the players to realize their strengths and make the most of them. In the history of the NFL, arguably the most successful professional sporting organization in history, no coach has ever been given four more years to fix problems he couldn’t fix in his first four.
What is broken in America under Mr. Obama’s watch, you ask:
1. Arguably 15% of our working age population is unemployed or underemployed.
2. The value of our currency vs. that of our major trading partners, Canada, Japan, and China has dropped dramatically since Mr. Obama was inaugurated. Only against the Euro has the dollar looked okay and that is due to the European problems, not anything we have done right.
3. In four years the number of people in the U.S. getting food stamps has risen from under 30% to over 45%.
4. The National Debt has risen from $10.6 Trillion to over $16 Trillion since Mr. Obama took office.
5. Mr. Obama hasn’t even been able to get a Senate, controlled by his own party, to pass a budget since he’s been in office. Show me a public business without a budget and I’ll show you a fired Chief Executive Officer.
6. The average household makes about $4,000 less per year now than when Mr. Obama took office. In buying power (inflation corrected) it feels like about $6,500 (over $500 a month) less income. Yet our government is spending over a Trillion Dollars more than it takes in each year. How is that not broken?
7. The price of fuel is more than twice what it was in January, 2009.
8. … and the list goes on and on.
Can any of these problems be at least partially the fault of government action prior to Mr. Obama taking office? Of course. Many of the problems started with Mr. Bush and/or Ms. Pelosi’s Congress. Many started well before. But, blaming today’s problems on yesterdays’s leaders does not un-break things. It doesn’t make them better. It may make Mr. Obama feel better and might even convince those who voted for him 4 years ago that they did not make a mistake. But, they did make a mistake, and, amazingly, it looks like many of them will make it again.
In my view, those who will vote a second time for Mr. Obama are either:
1. Too proud to admit a mistake;
2. Getting a very good deal from the Democrats controlling the government and are just selfish enough to not worry about the rest of the country;
3. Part of a minority group like government union members, gays, blacks, hispanics, muslims, etc. who either like the way our government favors them over members of the majority or fear the loss of their special privileges should Republicans control the government;
4. Just don’t understand the importance of self reliance and responsibility to the fabric of the culture that built America.
5. Think spending other people’s money against their wishes is just fine as long as it is not theirs.
6. Those who honestly believe that if Republicans run Washington, D.C. they will make government cuts so fast and deep as to destroy our current system. I would only hope that would be true, but, our current Republican party is too much like the Democrats. It has too much invested in the current system and unlike so many individuals in our country, lacks the ability to look at consequences past the next election.
First, let’s look at those who say “What’s In It For Me?” People who are staunch Union members will vote for Mr. Obama. When Mr. Romney says he thinks unions have too much power, it’s a pretty easy choice for a union member. Feminists will vote for Mr. Obama because they believe he will protect their ‘reproductive rights’ and give them preferences under the law. Blacks will vote for him because they are proud to have elected the first black President and don’t want to suffer the shame of his failure. Trial lawyers will vote for him because they fear Mr. Romney will be more likely to push for tort reform. People on Federally funded welfare programs will vote for Mr. Obama because they think he works for them and will continue to fund their government benefits. We are getting very close to the point where the majority of the population will be receiving some government largesse and will vote to maintain that. As Margaret Thatcher said, “The problem with Socialism is that eventually you run out of other people’s money.”
In my list above, I was going to add number 7 – “People who are Insane.” As Albert Einstein said, “Insanity is doing the same thing, over and over again, but expecting different results.” The only problem is that this group of people is not insane. These people want the same results and hope to get them by reelecting Mr. Obama again. That is selfishness and greed, an inability to see the long term consequences of four more years of Mr. Obama’s failed leadership, not insanity.
In my view we would be better off if the majority voted agains all incumbents.