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Maximizing Uncertainty for Fun and Profit
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March 28, 2009, 04:25 AM
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People who have actually successfully managed something larger than their own images, such as former Intel CEO Andy Grove in his Washington Post Op-Ed "Mr. President, Time to Rein in the Chaos," have been urging President Obama to prioritize and concentrate. For example, Obama has been going out of his way to keep an immigration amnesty an open possibility, even though such an attempt would likely prove politically disastrous for him.

A reader explains why Grove`s advice is naive:

There is an important observation to be made about what Obama is doing, and I wish that you would say something about it.

Suppose a new president came to Washington and said, "I basically won`t change a thing. My motto is `Business as Usual.`" What kind of attention would that president get from lobbyists? Obviously, none. Campaign donations would drop precipitously. Corporations would lay off their lobbyists.

The opposite of that is a practice of keeping all the balls in the air, with massive regulation proposals in the works for all major industries. Massive financial system reform! Massive healthcare reform! Massive energy reform! This gets every lobbyist involved. It maximizes the shakedown.

Shakedown is maximized as long as all the balls are kept in the air. Should any reform be settled, lobbying efforts could wind down.

Washington journalists love "Massive X reform." It`s good for the local economy, and no doubt helps them collect bribes and gifts. What would they think of a president who said, "Business as usual?" They would hate him. He would be bad for the Washington journalism business.