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Why We Have No Long Term Plans

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I complained in an earlier post that the US is "A country without a plan."

I recently met with a senior adviser to President Obama and I now think I have a better understanding as to why this is the case. There are actually several reasons for this:

  1. They think they do have long term plans. Yeah, right. Show me a credible long term written plan that for how we are going to restart manufacturing in the US so that we are creating jobs here instead of overseas. Surely, this cannot be a secret. I've been waiting almost 4 years and there is no plan.
  2. If they admitted that they don't have credible, peer-reviewed long term plans for solving America's most important problems, it would make them look stupid. So they claim that they do, even though they can't show you any.
  3. If you suggest they emulate the process for developing great plans used by Johnson in Great Society, they will tell you that all sorts of things explained Johnson's 96% passage rate and that those things aren't true today. When you point out that Johnson's process led to important policies that still survive 50 years later, they change the subject and talk about what Obama has accomplished.
  4. They are more interested in telling you why you (and your friends and Tom Friedman) are all wrong than listening to your suggestions as to how they could turn you into a supporter.
  5. When you ask "why not have Jim Hansen lead a team to come up with a long term plan for fixing global warming," you are told that "Jim Hansen believes in cap and trade and that will never pass." The fact that is totally untrue (Hansen hates cap and trade) doesn't seem to matter. Therefore, they make very important decisions based on misinformation. Nothing is more important than global warming. If they have a smarter guy who knows more about global warming than Hansen, they should have that guy chair the committee. But to have nobody working on a plan is irresponsible.
  6. Because they are only surrounded by believers (the non-believers have checked out so never come in contact with them), they think that they are right and you are wrong and they don't need to listen to you and if you are not a believer, it is because you are misinformed.
  7. They think their experts are better than the real experts. For example, I asked why we aren't restarting the Integral Fast Reactor (IFR) after investing $5 billion in it since it solves the nuclear waste problem. Well, if it was so good, then Chu would be supporting it and Chu has a Nobel prize. Sure, Chu has a Nobel prize, but Chuck Till can run circles around Chu when it comes to nuclear power. Why would you want to ask someone who isn't an expert and rely on their advice. To this day, nobody has contacted Till to even get his input on this important billion dollar project that could save the planet and help catapult us into being clean energy leaders.

So there you go. That's how they make decisions in Washington. Now that I understand the process, I better understand why we are where we are.

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