Potholes – Analogy to Policy

Potholes – Analogy to Policy

The recent diatribe on Texas’ new abortion law was an attempt to showcase this country’s unwillingness to alter policy to fix problems. As I keep mentioning, it is a big problem. Policy can be complicated, look at the tax code, but it doesn’t have to be. Most people do not have the knowledge, expertise, or interest to understand what makes good policy. They do, on the other hand, understand a rise in crime, a proliferation of potholes, drug deaths, propagation of homeless encampments, inflation and other repercussions of bad policy.

The real problem is both sides of the aisle keep the same policy debates going to hide other law changes. This is part of the function of omnibus bills.

I heard an interview with a Noble Prize winner and he made a statement that resonated beyond the topic. He said something similar to: “The science is being funded by people who do not understand it.” In this context his focus was more on administrators and grant allocations, but it could easily extend to policy. With one exception. Policy is being set by bureaucrats who fully understand it, but the public has no interest in learning its details. The politicians tell us these bills will address the problem, but problems persist. For some reason, we tolerate it.

Both sides are to blame. Abortion is a perfect example. The right should be leading this charge to create viable solutions to unplanned pregnancy. It is not a mystery, we understand biology. The challenges have not changed. An argument can be made a solution is elusive due to moral or religious demands. While a contributor, I don’t see it as a root cause. Something else prohibits conversations around policy changes to address abortion issues. Why do we refuse to try different solutions, it is human nature to seek solutions?

As I was pondering this very question, I noticed a pothole near the house. I watched the pothole form; it took many months. It was easy to straddle when driving down the street but difficult to avoid if leaving a nearby parking lot. It grew to a size where ignoring it was cringe worthy. It was filled in the normal way after many months existing as a growing nuisance. Our recently elected Mayor said poor road conditions would be addressed as part of his election campaign. Perhaps he did push for repairs, or perhaps it was just time. Only the shadow knows for sure, and it is not telling.

Less than three months later, the pothole is back, but not to its aforementioned menace, yet. It grows each day. Policy issues are like potholes. We never change how they are repaired and are amazed at their proliferation. We attempt repairs but never question why they don’t hold. Both sides of the aisle continue funding their repair using the same mechanism. Each side insisting it will do it better. The citizenry believes them and never question why we don’t try something different. Perhaps if we encouraged debate, real conversation, about potential solutions, we could improve policy, and eradicate our pothole problems too.

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