In my class on decision-making, I encourage my students to first think clearly about the problems they wish to solve, or the opportunities they wish to address, before they start evaluating different courses of action.
To help in the process, I encourage them to ask a few clarifying questions:
Whose input should be included before you make a decision, and whose shouldn’t?
What is it that you’re trying to achieve with your decision, and how would you know if you were successful (or not)?
What’s a broad and creative array of options that you could (and should) consider, and how — in specific terms — might they perform in terms of helping you achieve your goals?
I can’t help but think of these questions when I read the highlights from the president’s proposed budget.
After eight years of sustained economic growth and job creation under President Obama, what is the problem that these deep domestic cuts is meant to address?
Before cutting a raft of critical domestic programs, why didn’t the president conduct a series of town-hall meetings, in red and blue states, where his proposed cuts would be felt most acutely?
How does cutting meals-on-wheels help to lift up the millions of disadvantaged Americans who voted for the president?
How do cuts to children’s health-care programs help to make America great again?
How can it be that cuts to scientific research — the kind research that could leads to innovative and life-saving discoveries — is the best alternative when it comes to reducing the federal deficit? Wouldn’t other cuts, say to military spending, be more fruitful? What about cutting out some tax breaks for the rich?
The president’s budget is a black box. It is incomprehensible, and it its cruel to the point that even Republicans don’t want to touch it. It is not normal.
It’s Thursday, the 25th of May, 2017.
You can contact me on Twitter at @DecisionLab.