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Archive for October, 2011

Statement to the Senate Budget Committee

October 4th, 2011

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The following is a statement presented to the U.S. Senate Budget Committee. The video can be viewed here.

Thank you, Mr. Chairman, for the opportunity to testify this morning about improving the budget process. Third Way is a think tank that creates and advances moderate policy and political ideas. We applaud your efforts, Mr. Chairman, and all the members of this committee, to bring the federal deficit and debt under control. We also welcome this hearing on how to improve the budget process and very much appreciate the opportunity to testify.

The father of the modern industrial quality movement, Edwards Deming, once said: “A bad system will beat a good person every time.”

Members of both parties despite their differences want to put our fiscal house in order and give taxpayers good value for their tax dollars. The budgeting process itself often gets in the way of that common goal.

A biennial budget can give good people more opportunities to be good stewards of tax dollars. Every year Congress faces annual battles over how to spend taxpayers’ money, but under the current system these fights leave little time to contemplate how to save it and use it more effectively. Unlike the annual budget process, which Congress rarely completes on time, Congress would be able to devote the second year of a two-year budget cycle to planning, oversight, and streamlining government programs and services. Read the rest of this entry »

Ideal Candidate is an Oxymoron

October 3rd, 2011

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This piece was originally published by Politico.

“Oxymoron” sounds like something Mitt Romney and Texas Gov. Rick Perry have been calling each other. But it’s not an insult. It’s a contradiction in terms — like “working vacation.” It may be the key to victory next year.

For Democrats, oxymoron means a tough liberal. President Barack Obama toughened up his image with the drone assassination of Al Qaeda leader Anwar al-Awlaki, as well as the assault on Osama bin Laden. This gives Democrats hope that maybe, just maybe, Obama can pull through in 2012 — despite a deteriorating economy and sagging job ratings.

For Republicans, oxymoron means a nice conservative. Is New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie the answer to their prayers, as so many in the party now hope? Christie is a tough guy. Even a bully. But a nice guy? Not so much. Read the rest of this entry »