Tuesday, March 31, 2009

Reversing the Cycle: Part One

"In a true democracy, legislation becomes law after vigorous debate by well-informed parties who reach agreement for the betterment of the public.
In Albany, it’s different.

"Detailing the projects after the fact doesn't help," said Blair Horner of the New York Public Interest Research Group. "The public deserves to know how their money is being spent before the vote."

"The head of the region’s most powerful business group is calling the budget deal struck in Albany over the weekend a disaster for Long Island."

Seems that we have quite a few folks unhappy with the new New York State budget. Maybe more than usual this year.

This shouldn't come as a surprise as there is greater competition for dwindling resources (at least for the time being). Those in power do what those in power always do (with rare exceptions). Take care of the folks who put them in power.

So what are we poor New Yorkers to do? Accept the inevitable?

Just as with the federal budget, there doesn't seem to be a clear understanding of how "all the various parts" work together to form a just and productive society with maximum liberty and minimal governmental intervention.

Unfortunately, the more "passive" we are the more liberty we lose. Liberty is a "dynamic" active process which requires a good deal of public involvement.

It isn't entirely our fault that we have become "passive." We send "reformers" to Albany and to Washington don't we?

We do, and for the most part they try their best until they are crushed by the status quo and give up or conform.

So, again, what are we to do?

Probably the only way to effect substantive change is with an overhaul of the way we currently do business. Not an easy thing to accomplish when those controlling the purse strings and the legislative process are not prone to change.

It doesn't pay to get angry and accusatory, the situation is what it is and it will take time to change. Progressive, positive change is generally a slow, deliberate process.

The first thing we should require is "normalized" information and analysis across the board that is widely available and in user friendly formats (see previous posts). This will allow everyone to see what is before us in the cold hard light of reason.

The second thing we need to do is shed "organizational labels"and preconceived notions of what is before us. You may believe you are 100% correct on the issues, and indeed you may be. However, your ideas must be subjected to the same intellectual rigor as all other ideas.

The third thing we must do is create an open "dynamic" legislative process (see previous posts). We should use our public and private universities and others to design a "better" system. The "system" will ultimately assist the public in forming fair and impartial public policy.

To change, we must "think" differently and give the public the tools to change.

More in Part Two.

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