I just read this in Seth's Godin's new and free ebook - which I think is fantastic by the way - and my only complaint is that it is in a PDF and as such it is really hard to share ideas like the one below, which I cut, pasted and reformatted to get here.
"How many times have you paid your taxes? Ever get a receipt back telling you what you bought? You’re paying for something, right? Why is everybody arguing about taxes and deficits when they don’t know how their money is being spent?
What if you went to Lowe’s, and paid to improve your home, then Lowe’s did work but didn’t tell you what they did. Would you notice if they fixed faulty wiring?
It is time for us to rationalize the debate. Let’s parse the data and free the facts.
Imagine if we organized around meaningful data instead of vapid rhetoric. What if you could see how much you spent on your commute to work this year, or defending your country, or keeping your neighbor healthy?
What if there was as much data about John Barrow (D- GA) as there was about Manny Ramirez (LF-Dodgers). There are 750 players in Major League Baseball, and only 535 Members of Congress. Most of the data exists and what doesn’t we need to demand. The answer to healthy democracy lies not in rhetoric, but in our data.
Clay Johnson is the Director of Sunlight Labs for the Sunlight Foundation. He tweets at cjoh."
So often we move to debate when we have no idea what the facts are and this example of the tax debacle is a perfect example. How easy would it be if we the purchasers of government could understand exactly what it is we are buying and what the costs are? Imagine if all parties could agree on the reality of the situation, devoid of emotional verbs and blame games, and consider how powerful it would be if we then discussed not what the problem of the situation is but rather the goal that we would like to achieve as it relates to the situation? In other words we all recognized and agreed upon what we want and we understood exactly what we have and from that position we could agree on the discrepancies and the actions that we would like to take to eliminate them.
Imagine if life worked like this in your home, at your work and in your government.