New public education campaign helps lawmakers play budgetary “Moneyball”

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Polarization has now become the “new normal” in politics, evidenced by increasing fiscal brinksmanship and the recently ended federal shutdown.

As noted in an op-ed piece in Politico, the current political environment in Washington does not work to resolve long-standing issues, but simply kicking them down the road.

Responding to the bitter political climate, there is a new public education campaign applying the tactics of legendary Oakland A’s general manager Billy Beane, immortalized in “Moneyball,” both the 2003 Michael Lewis book and the 2011 movie starring Brad Pitt. 

Moneyball for Government — a project of Results for America — is a new public education program urging governments at all levels to use hard data to establish funding priorities and make decisions.

The program has three guiding principles:

  • Build evidence to make better decisions
  • Invest taxpayer dollars in programs that use evidence to demonstrate effectiveness;
  • Direct funds away from programs that fail to achieve.

The group utilizes an “All Star” team, featuring New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg, former OMB directors Peter Orszag and Jim Nussle, as well as domestic policy council directors Melody Barnes and John Bridgeland among others, who signed the principles.

The three steps in Moneyball for Government will certainly not heal the partisan division alone, Politico piece writes, nor will they address all the important issues that bring the country to continuing budget stalemates.

But by embracing the new system might allow policymakers to improve decision making, as a way to deal with limited government resources by using available information.

That could be one area where both sides agree.

Peter Schorsch is the President of Extensive Enterprises and is the publisher of some of Florida’s most influential new media websites, including SaintPetersBlog.com, FloridaPolitics.com, ContextFlorida.com, and Sunburn, the morning read of what’s hot in Florida politics. SaintPetersBlog has for three years running been ranked by the Washington Post as the best state-based blog in Florida. In addition to his publishing efforts, Peter is a political consultant to several of the state’s largest governmental affairs and public relations firms. Peter lives in St. Petersburg with his wife, Michelle, and their daughter, Ella.