Monday, October 4, 2010
When is Data, Data?
Today I heard the Toxic Assets Relief Program is likely to recover all but 50 billion of the bailout dollars. Although 700 Billion was allocated only about 375 billion was distributed and now only 160 Billion is outstanding. Some even say there is a possibility that the government might make money on this deal. However, on the street, the view is there was a 700 billion dollar give away. I get discouraged with the mentality that says, "Don't confuse me with the data (facts), my mind is made up". I would prefer to argue the merits of TARP from this data regardless of ones political persuasion.
I served on the Moravia Central School Board of Education from 2000 to 2003. We had our share of sensitive issues to deal with and the accompanying controversies. In some cases we were able to resolve the issues with a focus on the data. It was my mantra when things got hot and heavy. I would try to remind my colleagues, parents and community to look first at the data. After I left the Board I am pleased to say my advice was remembered by many of my fellow board members. Probably that legacy has died out by 2011 but I still think the approach is fundamental.
I guess I still look for the better day when our decision makers will look at the data and commit to finding the truth rather than twisting the information to their particular advantage. Will they ever focus on really serving the people who elected them?