Gene Steuerle Gives the Budget Commission Some Advice

Thu, 06 May 2010 15:47:18 +0000

The latest from Gene, at his must-read "The Government We Deserve," is some advice on making the budget commission a success.  My favorite:

Start developing your story line and displays now, not when you're about to issue a final report. One of the worst mistakes I see so many commissions and projects make is trying to develop a story line during the last few days when decisions are finally made. The story it tells the public should be accurate and fair, but it also needs to be well told to garner its support. And that requires a lot more work than an eleventh-hour all-nighter. As an example from tax reform in the mid-1980s, the distributional tables used before that time would have made it look like reform would hurt the poor (because people with huge incomes and huge tax shelters were being measured as "poor" when their shelters were netted against their other returns). As coordinator of that study, I set up a group to figure out how to change that display early on; there wouldn't have been time at the end.

Read the whole thing.