Contributor Post Created with Sketch. More Decision Points

 

Stuck in the snow this morning in Illinois, I keep remembering a couple of phrases: “Keep your eyes moving.” “Here comes a decision point.” Those were the two phrases the passenger in my 18 wheeler used incessantly a little over a week ago. He is a driving instructor with the company I drive for and he was doing an annual evaluation to make sure I hadn’t developed any unsafe habits in the last year. A driver with over one million accident free miles under his belt, he is worth his weight in gold to the company and to those drivers willing to listen and learn. Since we were in Atlanta, he made it a point to direct me to some of the most difficult intersections, the tightest turns with the most obstacles, the most narrow roads, and those little areas that are known to have the highest concentration of drivers who have taken complete leave of their senses even by Atlanta standards.

The interesting thing was that even after successfully negotiating a tricky intersection or turn, something unexpected would happen that reinforced the general stupidity of letting one’s guard down. Don’t pat yourself on the back because you made a sharp right turn without taking out the garbage truck on one side or levelling a telephone pole on the other, because you now have a city bus coming at you on your left and a pedestrian on your right, and your speed schedules you to meet them both on a narrow bridge. What to do? Change the schedule by applying the brakes and letting them cross the bridge first. I haven’t read George Bush’s book yet, but if it doesn’t make the point that these “decision points” have a nasty habit of showing up unannounced and uninvited, he’s missed a sterling opportunity.

I was remembering the admonitions the driving instructor made while listening to various news stories this week. A decision point was reached in negotiations about extending the current tax rates, for example. What does a two-year extension of current rates tell the job creators among us, other than that their rates will go up in two years? Does a two year extension really position them to make long term reinvestments in their businesses or ramp up their payrolls? Of course not. And yet, that’s what passes for “predictability” in the tax debate. And in exchange for this small extension, we add billions to the deficit for more unemployment benefits, and any number of pet projects such as ethanol subsidies? Was this deal really reflective of the sentiment the voters expressed in November? Decisions have ripple effects far beyond what can be seen at the time the decision is made. What might be the effects of a deal that doesn’t spur the kind of growth needed for recovery, yet adds still more debt?

Meanwhile, more decision points loom. As Professor Rahe has pointed out, the National Labor Relations Board, in the absence of congressional action, is preparing to implement a card check system that would deny employees the right to vote by secret ballot on questions of whether or not to unionize. Similarly, the EPA stands ready to implement its own version of cap and trade, again in the absence of congressional action. Meanwhile, Congressman Fred Upton, whose primary claim to fame thus far has been his role in what Ricochet member Kenneth famously calls the “55 MPH Light Bulb” law (where the feds presume to dictate what kind of light bulbs we may and may not purchase), is poised to chair the House Energy and Commerce Committee in the new congress.

My point is simple. Important decisions are being made now. The lame ducks in congress, the cuckoos in the administration, and the dodo birds in the new congress are all reaching decision points with major implications for our future and our children’s future. And these decisions will be made regardless of our holiday schedules or competing priorities. This is no time to become complacent or allow ourselves to be distracted or diverted. As my instructor said, we should keep our eyes moving, scanning events, and stay engaged. Decision points don’t take holidays.

There are 6 comments.

  1. Mel Foil Inactive

    …and if you take the time to settle things beforehand–like, what am I going to do if Bambi jumps out in front of my car on a slippery two-way road?–then I know that what I’m going to do is slow down as much as I can, not swerve, and sacrifice Bambi. Sorry Bambi. That applies to a lot of other problems in life too.

    • #1
    • December 12, 2010, at 10:01 AM PST
    • Like
  2. Sisyphus Coolidge
    Sisyphus Joined in the first year of Ricochet Ricochet Charter Member

    That sliver of Tea Party ready members is badly out numbered, and every compromise and defeat the next two years is going to be billboarded by the opposition press and the rank and file Tea Partiers. The old habits of the ruling “elite” who put us in this death spiral are still in command. We need to keep the pressure on and be prepared to put forth a much better showing at the polls in 695 days.

    And thanks for the safety reminder. I spent a couple of days moving dump trucks for the drivers once on a rush job. Moving a big truck is a lot more work than most appreciate, and visibility is never, ever perfect. Thanks for the reminders.

    • #2
    • December 12, 2010, at 10:13 AM PST
    • Like
  3. oleneo65 Coolidge
    oleneo65 Joined in the first year of Ricochet Ricochet Charter Member
    Dave Carter: A decision point was reached in negotiations about extending the current tax rates, for example. What does a two-year extension of current rates tell the job creators among us, other than that their rates will go up in two years? Does a two year extension really position them to make long term reinvestments in their businesses or ramp up their payrolls? Of course not. And yet, that’s what passes for “predictability” in the tax debate. And in exchange for this small extension, we add billions to the deficit for more unemployment benefits, and any number of pet projects such as ethanol subsidies? Was this deal really reflective of the sentiment the voters expressed in November? Decisions have ripple effects far beyond what can be seen at the time the decision is made. What might be the effects of a deal that doesn’t spur the kind of growth needed for recovery, yet adds still more debt?

    Proof that the Reps need bigger better leaders.

    • #3
    • December 12, 2010, at 10:29 AM PST
    • Like
  4. Scott R Member
    Scott R Joined in the first year of Ricochet Ricochet Charter Member

    Lame ducks, cuckoos, and dodo birds. We’re in good hands!

    And you might have left out vultures.

    • #4
    • December 13, 2010, at 3:31 AM PST
    • Like
  5. Profile Photo Member

    My decision point, 1992: George H.W. Bush breaks his tax promise. Vote Libertarian.

    My decision point, 2000: George W. Bush calls himself “compassionate conservative.” Vote Libertarian.

    My decision point, 2004: George W. Bush believes he can create a democratic paradise in Iraq and Afghanistan. Vote Libertarian.

    My decision point, 2008: Sarah Palin proves herself to be a phony. Vote Libertarian.

    My decision point, 2010: Meg Whitman is an idiot. Vote Libertarian.

    My decision point, 2012: Move to New Zealand.

    • #5
    • December 13, 2010, at 9:41 AM PST
    • Like
  6. Good Berean Inactive

    Well said Dave.

    Another interesting thing about decision points. Because they are reached in real time when the outcome of the decision is uncertain, then analyzed in retrospect once the outcome is known, they are often over overly criticized by those who were not involved in the decision making process at the time.

    • #6
    • December 13, 2010, at 9:55 AM PST
    • Like