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Here’s How to Manage Our Politicians

With the right oversight, they can serve the people well.

by
Vik Rubenfeld

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March 30, 2011 - 12:00 am
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It’s well-known that employees acting on their own, without management, will get out of control. They will lose sight of the common goal and act as individuals rather than as a united group.

Our elected officials are our employees, and the reason they are out of control to some degree, as a group, may be in part that we the people have never made any serious effort to manage them. We left management of the politicians to the mainstream media, but it turns out that the mainstream media has no wish to carry out that function. Could it be possible that there may be a way for voters to organize so as to manage elected officials using established principles of good management — “What gets measured gets done,” “Catch them doing something right,” etc.?

The purpose of this article is to propose a framework for discussing how such an organization might be constituted.

GOALS

Effective management begins with the setting of goals. The single most important part of developing such an organization is the specification of the goals of the people. The goals must be long-term and evergreen. This would differentiate the organization from groups that focus on specific legislation.

Potential goals include:

National Security

  • Safety of U.S. citizens at home and abroad

Financial Health of Federal and State Governments:

  • Increasing GDP
  • Decreasing deficit
  • Decreasing debt

Financial Health of the People

  • Increasing average and median income
  • Reducing unemployment

Medical Health

  • Increasing life expectancy
  • Reducing incidence of major diseases
  • Decreasing cost of health care

Upholding the Constitution

  • Per Founders’ intent rather than as a “living document”

Upholding Personal Freedom

  • Reducing taxes
  • Reducing legal regulations and restrictions

Upholding Judeo-Christian Culture

  • Supporting appreciation of the Judeo-Christian Bible

Supporting Capitalism

  • Reducing legal regulations and restrictions on U.S. businesses
  • Increasing financial success of U.S. businesses

Education

  • Reducing cost to taxpayers
  • Increasing test scores
  • Decreasing dropout rates

Smaller Government

  • Reducing number of government employees
  • Reducing state and federal spending

It may be taken as a given that there would be liberal as well as conservative organizations of the kind described in this article. The goals shown here are draft goals for a proposed conservative organization.

APPROPRIATE MANAGEMENT PRINCIPLES AND THEIR APPLICATION

Suitable management principles, and methods to apply them, include:

Principle: What gets measured gets done.

Application: The organization would develop scores for each elected official on each of the goals. Via its website, email list, and social networking pages, the organization would encourage the public to make campaign contributions to these elected officials.

Principle: Catch them doing something right.

Application: The organization would regularly feature on its website the latest accomplishments of elected officials towards the furtherance of the goals. An annual award, including a cash gift to the charity of the receiver’s choice, would be given to the official or officials who have done the most towards the furtherance of the goals. Again, the organization would encourage the public to make campaign contributions to top-scoring elected officials.

Principle: Reward failure. “Someone who never fails probably isn’t pushing the envelope.” (From “30 Management Principles of the US Marines.”)

Application: Work towards the goals which is innovative, even though unsuccessful, would be discovered by the organization and praised on the organization’s public website.

Principle: Glorify the lower levels of the organization. “The higher the manager, the harder he or she should work at making it clear that the rank and file are the heroes.” (Again from “30 Management Principles of the US Marines.”)

Application: Staff members of elected officials would be regularly singled out for praise on the organization’s public website.

BI-PARTISANSHIP

Many of the goals, e.g., for national security, financial health of the government and of individuals, etc., are supported by a majority of Americans of both parties. Elected officials should be recognized and rewarded for efforts on behalf of the goals regardless of party affiliation.

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