Friday, November 09, 2012

Show Your Work Congress

Last night, I had a long conversation with the Peanut, my oldest daughter, about her math homework.  She had gotten a failing grade, 55%, on a math homework assignment, despite she whined, getting all the answers right (which I have no doubt she did).  What was the reason she failed?  Well, she failed to follow the instructions and show her work, which was spelled out in the instructions.

That was what was running through my head when I read this brilliant idea via Mark Tapscott:

Few things are more characteristic of business as usual in Washington, D.C., than closed doors. Nothing will do more to end business as usual than opening them to C-SPAN cameras.
With the "fiscal cliff" of sequestration approaching, now is the perfect time to establish a precedent: The bigger the deal, the more important it is that negotiations be done in public.
It took about 12 seconds after the 2012 campaign winners were declared for the maneuvering toward a "grand bargain" to begin among President Obama, Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid and House Speaker John Boehner.
Everybody professes to favor compromise, but without open negotiations there is no way to know who actually offers concrete compromises and who merely talks about them.The essential antidote is to let C-SPAN's cameras cover the negotiations gavel to gavel, with open news conferences after every bargaining session.
The only reasonable alternative to the cameras would be making public a complete transcript of every word said during the talks, with no opportunities for participants to "revise and extend" their remarks.

Of course, the participants will say they can't deal in candor if their work is made public.  Well, tough noogie chuckleheads, you are elected representatives and we as you employers have a right to see your work.  Just like the instructions on my daughter's math homework, she has to show her work, our representatives and elected officials need to show their work.

The only way they can ever hope to get out of the 10-20% approval rating doldrums is to engender faith in their work, and start doing it out in the open.
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