Monday, May 18, 2009

Time For And

In a recent Projo Commentary, "RI should stop trying to pick winners", a main theme was that markets are the best and most efficient way to determine whether policies are working.  A fundamental premise of markets is reliance on "cost benefit analysis to guide... policy".

To most of us, cost benefit analysis emphasizes the amount of money spent compared to the amount of money earned.  While this is undoubtedly important we must acknowledge that there are "costs" and "benefits" other than financial.  For this 'human' analysis, markets are not very good judges. 

The more conservative view places most of its faith in the traditional market view while the more liberal view emphasizes the human factors.

We seem to fight about which is the right view, the best view, and insist on EITHER/OR solutions.  We desperately need "AND" solutions. 

Saving money is important to commercial and residential taxpayers AND it's also important that we care for the needy and the homeless.

Good benefits and pay for union members are important AND it's important for taxpayers to be able to pay their own bills as well as for those benefits.  

For far too long this bipolar paradigm, that only one viewpoint is the right one, has stifled our potential and it's high time to stop this "either / or" battle. We can do better.