The further to the left or the right you move, the more your lens on life distorts.

Tuesday, October 01, 2013

Rush to Judgment

Over the past 18 months, I've been fortunate to take an idea for a targeted automotive aftermarket application, put a reasonably significant amount of my own money at risk to create a manufacturing start-up, transition from start-up mode to a real manufacturing/e-commerce business, and progress to become profitable. It's a long journey with many, many decision points, a lot of stress, and more than a few risks, but it's also rewarding and fun. The company is now in the process of prototyping a number of new products. There's substantial pressure to bring them to market rapidly, but it would be irresponsible (for the business and for our customers) to rush them into the market. So we take our time, correct bugs, improve logistics, be certain that our supply chain and manufacturing processes are right, and when all that occurs, we'll release the products when they're ready.

With that common sense approach in mind (you know, something that all good, responsible managers would do as a given), let's consider the recent Obamacare debacle. It's pretty obvious that the program isn't ready for prime time (yeah, I know, it's all the fault of the meany GOP). There are many reasons for this, but primarily, the program was designed without bi-partisan consultation or compromise, was rushed through its design process without regard to quality or the ability to implement it effectively, and was rammed through congress using political strong-arming. Today, the program is so broken that the president himself has delayed (a questionably legal maneuver) parts of the law. Ironically, when members of the House have suggested that other portions of the law be delayed, Barack Obama's supporters have called them "anarchists." In fact, Barack Obama has chosen to shut down the government because the GOP has the temerity to suggest that this entire mess be delayed one year while it's many, many bugs are fixed or reworked. He sees political advantage and he may very well get it. But his cynical push to deliver a shoddy product indicates just how poor a manager he is.

Nick Gillespie summarizes the government shut down precipitated by Obamacare delay this way:
President Obama is indulging in incredible displays of peevishness such as this one yesterday during an interview with NPR's Steve Inskeep. Asked what he might offer to House Republicans, who have called for, most recently, a delay in Obamacare's individual mandate and a bunch of other late-breaking proposals generally unrelated to how much the government will be spending over the next 12 months:
"Steve when you say what can I offer? I shouldn't have to offer anything," Obama said. "They're not doing me a favor by paying for things that they have already approved for the government to do. That's part of their basic function of government; that's not doing me a favor. That's doing what the American people sent them here to do, carrying out their responsibilities.
Yeah, you shouldn't have to offer anything, Mr. President. What is it that you like to say in such situations? I won. Get over it.
But you do have to offer something now because you didn't make sure to get a spending plan in place when there was more time to screw around.
So, the national parks are closed, some non-essential government employees are furloughed and will likely collect full back pay, and accusations fly. Obama's trained media hamsters are already looking for those who will suffer from the shutdown, although they're not looking for anyone who might suffer due to today's implementation of Obamacare. In fact, both the administration and the media hamsters are working hard to protect Barack Obama from any blowback due to a shoddy implementation by setting very low expectations for today's Obamacare launch.

Over at Politico, a few of the hamsters write:
America’s about to take Obamacare for a test drive with an army of hungry reporters in the back seat.

When Obamacare enrollment begins on Tuesday, reporters in the Twitter age will be tempted to declare the health law a success or a failure in the first few days — a judgment that will certainly be stoked by advocates on both sides of the issue.

And any rush judgments could have a big impact on public opinion of the law. Right now, the majority of Americans in recent polls say they oppose the law, but the Obama administration is hoping that will turn around once people see it in action.

The first days of enrollment are a chance for that to happen — but there’s just as big a chance that the public could become convinced it’s a huge disaster, if technical breakdowns in the new health insurance exchanges dominate the news.
Funny that they advise against a "rush to judgement" for a law that was rushed into place without regard for quality. Funny indeed.