Why Oh Why…?

On the MSNBC show, “Morning Joe”, Professor Jeffrey Sachs (author of THE END OF POVERTY and COMMON WEALTH) found himself in broad agreement with Conservative host Joe Scarborough (despite simple-minded detractors more eager to catalogue people than listen to varying ideas, calling Professor Sachs a ‘Marxist-leftist nut’) about the need for igniting a Green Technology Revolution, using the technological and creative prowess of the United States to thereby revitalize long-term economic prospects.

Senator Barbara Boxer of California came on the show, speaking of both President Obama’s tour-de-force Town Hall Meeting and the disastrous, market-plummeting ‘non-plan’ (insofar as being painfully light on specifics) presented by Treasury Secretary Geitner.

At one point Professor Sachs asked Senator Boxer why an overall framework wasn’t being presented with the economic plan — a 5 year framework explaining not only where money was to be spent, but how it would stimulate growth, how then we’d exit from some of the spending commitments, how we’d go back to balancing the budget and how we’d pay down the debt.

Senator Boxer said it was already there and if he wasn’t hearing it, the President would need to keep going out into town hall type engagements and explain what was at least evident to him and Senator Boxer. Senator, why oh why can’t we call a spade a spade?

It’s not there! Or if it is, it’s hidden with such monumental artifice that it would take CSI-like forensics and Sherlockian deduction to locate it. Repeating it’s there, replaying the rhetoric about ‘this will create jobs, it will give people money, it will provide infrastructure’ does not at all answer what the end game is, and how it is envisaged that we will grow our way out of this. Generics about ‘banks starting to lend again’ won’t suffice — it doesn’t address what’s being asked for.

I’ve repeated the recommendation that while seeking to lead any major change, create a dashboard, with debated and agreed metrics. Professor Sachs, in a similar vein, is asking for a framework for more than the immediate ‘electroshock’ we’re going to provide the economy in the short-run.

Leaders when asked why something isn’t there in your plans, if it’s truly there, just point it out, and don’t make it part of an avalanche of rhetoric. If it’s not there, accept it, and commit to getting it there fast…then come through. As real leaders committed to real results, why wouldn’t we?