President Trump’s response to queries is often: “We will see what happens” - a business approach he has used successfully for many years.
Our founders believed in this approach also. Their Constitution allowed states each with different laws to serve as a “laboratories of democracy”. After a state saw what happened
in another state it could copy what worked. They passed the Tenth Amendment in the Bill of Rights to reinforce the importance of this approach: “The powers not delegated to the United States by the Constitution, nor prohibited by it to the States, are reserved to the States respectively, or to the people.” America’s failure to abide by this Amendment has limited each state’s ability to experiment with different ideas and is likely the cause of many if not most of its problems.
Trump’s approach focuses on a result - not a process. It recognizes that not all decisions will be good ones and that those that are not should be adjusted after seeing what happened
. The experience gained from those decisions that are less than optimum allow for a better final result to be achieved. Success is the product of failures.
Although this approach is one that Trump and most of us use every day, in Washington where a process is worshiped rather than results, it is not understood. Its use by the president seems to be the source of most of their angst. One illustration of this is that Congress insists on trying to pass a “comprehensive immigration reform bill” which includes many individual and separate items. No attempt is made to vote on these individual items separately where many of them could easily be passed with a majority in the House and a filibuster-proof 60 votes in the Senate. Doing so would allow them to see what happened
with each one before passing others. A representative government could then work, and voters would have a clear picture of who was for what.
The failure to use Trump’s approach, unfortunately, is probably intended
by politicians. When a large number of items are included in a comprehensive bill the waters can be muddied regarding their own position on it, and this allows them to be less transparent and accountable to the voters. A business approach would be different. Success in a business requires it to be transparent and accountable for price, quality, and service to consumers on the products it produces. And to be tactical in its execution. A well-funded developer does not buy the entire real estate of a city. He buys one well-selected parcel, carefully develops it, sees what happens
, and then proceeds to the next purchase.
Congress, of course, is a body that only makes laws. So it is inherent that it will attract those who enjoy and are most attracted to the law - lawyers. And as human nature and our free enterprise system are what they are, those lawyers will make as many laws as possible so they and their friends will have an increasing demand for their services. And they will make them as complicated as possible so fewer non-lawyers can understand them, and they can further extend the need for their services. This behavior over time has resulted in Congress evolving into a body more akin to a courtroom than to a group focused on making decisions and seeing what happens. Think about it. In Congress witnesses
. The evidence
is presented on the record
. Items are debated
. Differing from business, all of this is performed methodically in a very structured setting - rather than a process of having a 435-member creative brainstorming session in the House to come up with the best way to solve problems to help our nation.
All lawyers are not the same. Some take property, others defend it. Liberal trial lawyers who give 85% of their contributions to Democrats take property. As personal injury lawyers, they use legal fees almost as extortion forcing businesses to settle for huge sums whether liable or not. As class-action lawyers, they obtain huge settlements with members of the class receiving only coupons. On the other hand, Republican lawyers defend patents and other intellectual property creating assets of value to all Americans. And more often than not they are corporate lawyers who write and review contracts creating value by providing clarity among parties in business transactions.
A more businesslike approach in Congress would be helpful. It has been business, not Congress, which has created America’s high standard of living. Congress has done the opposite, passing many regulations which have made life more difficult for business and all of us. If Congress would pass small individual bills all would be more transparent to voters, who then would be more fully informed. And would vote accordingly after they saw what happened