Friday, June 21, 2013

The Psychology of Capital Cities

Weston Hicks has a phenomenal piece (*) at Agendawise.  It's about leveraging political inside baseball to drive policy outcomes, but in that process it also contains one of the best analyses of legislative psychology we've ever read.  Money quote:
Notice that when moral/cultural issues are passing, fiscal discipline is always at its highest ebb. Case in point: the 82nd Legislature.

Why? Because fiscal restraint is moral restraint. Moral thinking puts people in the proper head space to make good, long term fiscal decisions.

Conversely, selfish thinking makes it easy to spend taxpayer money on fattening government fiefdoms.

This is why the best pro-life session  ever in Texas went with one of the best fiscally disciplined sessions ever.

Rice University’s Mark Jones wrote an article about how the 83rd legislature was a “purple session in a red state”. With a bonanza of funds, the Rainy Day Fund was raided even more heavily than in the 82nd Legislature, when funds were scarce, giving big spenders much better leverage to go after the RDF.

In fact, the lobby actively tries to create a sinful, self-serving environment in capitol towns because they know this is the most fertile atmosphere for getting crony legislation passed.
This is also why some of the best, most praiseworthy, and most subversive things conservative legislators can do in capitol towns is bible studies, charity activities, and making their families visible often to remind other legislators of their own familial vows.

In truth, there is a battle for atmosphere in capitol towns that the lobby knows about and fights, and that conservatives need to understand and engage with more.
It's human nature; creating "a sinful, self-serving environment" leads people to spend money.  Keeping people focused on service, by contrast, begets far better financial stewardship.  This is true in Austin, and it's even truer in Washington.

On that note, we'd like to invite readers to this prayer event at the Texas State Capitol tomorrow.

Cahnman's Musings strongly recommends you read the whole piece here.

* -- In the piece, Hicks refers to Indiana Governor Mike Pence, but former Indiana Governor Mitch Daniels was the one who made the 'truce' comment. [UPDATE: Hicks corrected the original piece]

1 comment:

  1. Thanks for the kind words and for the correction. Daniels is in there now.

    -Weston Hicks, AgendaWise


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