September 10, 2002
Dead Horses and Public Policy
The tribal wisdom of the Dakota Indians, passed on from generation to generation, says that when you discover that you are riding a dead horse, the best strategy is to dismount.
In modern education and government, however, a whole range of far more advanced strategies are often employed, such as:
- Buying a stronger whip.
- Changing riders.
- Threatening the horse with termination.
- Appointing a committee to study the horse.
- Arranging to visit other countries to see how others ride dead horses.
- Lowering the standards so that dead horses can be included.
- Re-classifying the dead horse as "living, impaired".
- Hiring outside contractors to ride the dead horse.
- Harnessing several dead horses together to increase the speed.
- Providing additional funding and/or training to increase the dead horse's performance.
- Doing a productivity study to see if lighter riders would improve the dead horse's performance.
- Declaring that as the dead horse does not have to be fed, it is less costly, carries lower overhead, and therefore contributes substantially more to the bottom line of the economy than do some other horses.
- Re-writing the expected performance requirements for all horses.
- Promoting the dead horse to a supervisory position.
The Frontier Centre for Public Policy
is an independent public policy think tank whose mission is "to broaden the debate on our future through public policy research and education and to explore positive changes within our public institutions that support economic growth and opportunity."