In other words, it's perfect for this blog.
Since this past weekend was President's Day, and I've never had the pleasure of running a country, I thought I would publish my presidential platform so you can see how a dumb-ass blogger would govern this mess of a nation.
First, let's take a look at what's wrong with all our politicians. The answer here is simple. They are all ideologues. Not one of them has any practical new ideas about fixing the mess we're in other than "spend less money" or "spend more money" or "God wants us to do this or that."
I don't care about ideology. Ideology never fixed a damn thing. Ideology is for suckers. I am only interested in practical solutions to clearly defined problems.
So, next we need to define the problems. Here is my interpretation of what the core problems are:
1. Our economy sucks and there are too many people out of work.
2. We have a particularly bad problem with unemployed young men. Some are bright, responsible and just can't find work. Some have no skills, no education, and no reasonable hope for a productive future. They commit most of the crime and have been and will continue to be a drain on our society for decades.
3. As all the God botherers are quick to point out, we have a changing social fabric with over half of babies born to women under 30 born out of wedlock. I'm not in the business of making moral judgments, but there is a practical issue here. Kids born out of wedlock have a distinct disadvantage. According to the NY Times..."Researchers have consistently found that children born outside marriage face elevated risks of falling into poverty, failing in school or suffering emotional and behavioral problems." According to a study by Bowling Green University kids born into a married household “experience better education, social, cognitive and behavioral outcomes.”Next we need to derive a set of principles to deal with these problems. Being a dumb-ass ad guy as well as a dumb-ass blogger, the principles I will apply are the ones that my agency applies to advertising problems. We call it Performance-Based Advertising (you can find it here) but for the purpose of my dumb-ass presidential platform I am going to call it Performance-Based Politics. The principles are the same, just re-purposed for a different set of problems.
Here are the 3 principles:
1. Politics is most effective when it is focused on changing behavior, not attitudes.
2. Politics should be centered on influencing the high-yield target (the group who will make the most difference.)
3. Politics should be practiced "bottom-up," with practical solutions not ideological fairy tales.Applying these principles, we can start to see a clearer definition of what needs to be done. In one simple sentence, the best strategy for dealing with our problems is to focus our attention on creating a way to provide young people (especially young men) with marketable skills.
It is pretty obvious that everything we have tried along these lines is failing: the education system is a disaster, and providing social services makes us feel better but has little practical effect.
My presidential platform is based on a simple solution to this problem. It will not solve all the problems of the country, and there are a million little details that need to be hammered out. But it will make a huge difference and it will be the most effective single thing we can do to bring the country back around.
We should immediately institute mandatory military service for all males over 18 years old. No exceptions, no excuses.
The first thing it will do is get millions of young men off the streets and out of trouble
The second thing it will do is give us a framework for teaching skills to young men whether they want it or not. Unlike civilian life, in the army you do what you're told.
The third thing it will do is give us a platform for teaching civic and personal responsibility to those who don't have it.
Finally, it will give them less time to get teenage girls pregnant.
It meets our 3 criteria.
- It's about changing behavior.
- It focuses on the high-yield target (young men)
- It is a practical solution, not an ideological one.
Hopefully, we have finally learned not to get ourselves involved in any more unnecessary wars. With Iraq and Afghanistan drawing to a close these young men will not be sent off to fight, and can be doing productive work.
Strangely, young men coming out of the armed forces now have a higher unemployment rate than those who don't. This makes no sense to me and I'm counting on the fact that the economic stimulus that my dumb-ass platform will create will reverse this. When our young men come out of the army they will have been taught a skill; they will know how to get their ass out of bed in the morning and do something; they will have bypassed some of the most dangerous years of their lives; they will have hope for a productive life.
This is my story and I'm sticking to it. Vote the dumb-ass party!