Sunday, February 22, 2009

I'm Pissed. Partisan Politics: Drilling a Hole in the Boat

Partisan politicians should work for tips in a restaurant. That's because if our government and politics worked like a corporation, a restaurant or even a health spa, somebody -- a lot of short-sighted players -- would be getting pink sheets, without unemployment benefits. And that scenario fires me up.

This is not a political rant. This is about my money, and I'm not getting my money's worth from some congressional leaders. With their eyes on 2012 or hard-line, party-line positions, they're trying to drill holes in the federal boat. The idea: if the stimulus boat sinks, they can run to the rescue four years later and play hero. But that Rush to create failure-and-rescue scenarios ignores two major realities:

1) Time Factor: There's no time for posturing or politicking. The global financial crisis demands solutions and intellectually honest debates. Old-school partisan politics deserve failing grades in the new economy.

2) Same Boat People: There's a famous story about a boater who decides to drill a hole under his seat. The rest of the boaters become upset and the driller does not understand why. In his ill-planned Rush to drill a hole under his seat, he doesn't understand that he's sinking the entire boat. That's the classic version of the story.

In 2009, the storyline goes like this: Resentful drillers decide to create holes under their opponents seats. Their implied logic: Why should the opposing party get credit for successfully riding out the financial storm? Let's drill holes under their seats, pray for failure, so we can rush in and play savior? That selfish logic makes me want to hand out pink sheets.

But if Congress and politics worked like a corporation or a restaurant, here's how the agenda would work:

  • Restaurant Tips: When I was a waitress, I discovered that it was not enough to do my job. If the restaurant was dirty, if the hostess was rude or if the cook burnt the food, my tips (my money!!! my earnings!!!) suffered. A financial payoff -- great earnings for all -- didn't depend on my performance alone. What's more, it took more than just the serving staff to deliver a strong financial performance for the entire organization. It was a group effort. The entire staff had to cooperate for bottom-line financial success. Therefore, our elected officials should work in a restaurant for six months. That's the sentence I would hand out to underscore the importance of bi-partianship. Serve this dish: Get over yourself; get beyond petty party politics and do your damn job!

  • Corporate Agenda: Imagine this scenario: As part of a corporate planning committee, I've suggested a slogan, a blueprint, a to-do list and even a budget. My career would get a major boost if I am crowned the corporate hero. But someone else --my boss or a co-worker -- has a different plan. I don't agree, but it's the plan that passes through the strategic committee and gets rolled out to the general public. Now what would happen to my career, if I trash-talked the plan to customers and co-workers. What if I actively sabotaged a plan launched by my boss? Quite frankly, I would be fired and perhaps lose eligibility to collect unemployment benefits. But in the spirit of partisan politics --the loyal opposition -- can try to sabotage a federal recovery agenda, hope for failure and pretend to be patriots.

  • Department Politics: We all have our silos. If I work on the business desk at a newspaper, I might not care about the sports coverage as long as I am doing my job. But I would be foolish to undercut the Sport Department because I realize that revenue from the Sports Department also helps to pay my salary. When my petty concerns or obsession with office politics prompts me to sabotage colleagues in other departments, I should realize that when I drill holes in their financial plans, I drill holes in my own fiscal well-being.

Basically, if I acted like a selfish player in the office, I would be threatening my job security and my fiscal well-being. But apparently, that's how partisan politics work, where people just drill holes and pretend their creating life-saving situations.


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Anonymous said...

The titanic has hit the iceberg and the sinking has begun. Nothing, and I mean NOTHING, will change the outcome regardless of whether the captains, crew and passengers are republican or democrat

The money in your bank account(s) is figuratively and literally gone and it will be a matter of time before everyone realizes this and the herd stampedes to their local bank.

Stimulus, no stimulus, wait or don't wait it won't make any difference.

Anonymous said...

Your post is the classic 'where's mine" isn't it. I guess the people who work and pay their bills should just hand over their wallets to people who make bad decisions. We just need to all hurry up and agree -- whether or not the bill is a good idea or not.

Hey it's only about where's mine after all. No wonder you view yourself as a Duchess....

Anonymous said...

Would this be the same partisan politics about how "I won", the emergency bill that waited until our President had a nice valentines dinner and vacation, and how the emergency financial bill is paying for skate parks, dog trails, and other pork?

You do mean that partisan politics, right?

Anonymous said...

Funny how the only time the Dems are concerned with being bi-partisan is when they are the ones in control and need the Republicans to "just get along". Neither party has shown any of us they can act like responsible adults. But I find your comment that the GOP just wants faliure so they can come to the rescue in 2012a bit ironic considering that's how the Dems felt about the Iraq War. They cheered for us to fail the entire time!

Father Sez said...

This is about the general feeling the thinking Malaysian public has about our politicians.

Making them work in a restaurant seems a little too kind. Given the scope of their responsibility and the resources and power we have given them, their behaviour should allow us to shoot them!!!