Scott Adams recommends a unique budget process reform:
There’s a TV show I’d like to see, perhaps on public television, or on the Internet. The premise is that the President of the United States sits in a room with economists and prepares his three-slide PowerPoint presentation to the voters on the topic of raising taxes versus cutting spending to balance the budget.
Now add Judge Judy, or someone with a similar skill set, to run the meeting and cut off the participants when they don’t offer brief answers to clear questions. Also include several economist/researchers who are there to verify the accuracy of any assertions made during the meeting.
During the course of the show, as Judge Judy (for example) nails down certain facts, the facts are put on the PowerPoint slide for viewers to keep track of what is settled. When enough facts are assembled for a verdict, Judge Judy and the President discuss what they have learned until the President arrives at a conclusion that is consistent with the facts. And if the data doesn’t point in a conclusive direction, the President would be free to make his decision on some sort of principle, such as fairness, or practicality. At least the decision process would be transparent.
Adams was motivated by his (quite correct) observation that Americans aren’t familiar with key budget facts:
I thought of this idea after reading the comments to my recent blog about the national debt. It’s clear that no citizen has enough information to justify an opinion on raising taxes versus cutting spending. Everyone, including me, seems to have a handful of questionable factoids and some dogma. That’s it.
I somehow doubt the President will sign up for this form of reality of TV. Which is unfortunate. Judging by this year’s uninspired lineup, primetime would benefit from some economists playing with PowerPoint.