Tuesday, October 27, 2009

"Where are we going to get the money?"

William F. Buckley Jr. once fondly recalled a state legislator who used to rise during debate on every significant piece of legislation and ask, "Where are we going to get the money?"

A basic question. An important question. And one to ask frequently because it smokes out the dodges, dreaming, and distortions that are behind so many fine speeches. When the answer is given, then ask:
  1. "Is that a plausible response?"
  2. "Has that ever worked in the past?
  3. "Do the institutions that will be in charge of achieving those actions have a good record of performance?"
  4. "Is the desired improvement worth the cost?"
  5. "What might be the unintended consequences and do they erase the benefits?"

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