White House Correspondents’ Dinner Thought: It’s a Thin Line…

“I’m not cocky, I’m confident; So when you tell me I’m the best it’s a compliment”  -Jadakiss

I got a chance to check out the White House Correspondents’ Dinner last night.  It is obviously understandable folks would like to take a break on a Saturday evening to hear jokes.

But, fact is, some comments are telling.  I’ve written plenty about how I think the government can become more efficient and, in doing so, let the private sector do what it is meant to do.

As a brief, but important, aside this post SHOULD NOT be read as a partisan commentary about any branch of government, any political party, etc.  Unfortunately, these issues inherently arise in the discussion, but my sole focus in this article is to discuss economic efficiency.

There is surely a role for government in society, and it is important that it is operating at maximum efficiency in order to allow the economy to thrive.  Unfortunately, we are not operating at maximum efficiency.

A lot of people are struggling, despite what many folks might say.  The benefits from increased efficiency by the government could well help many of these struggling people.

As I’ve discussed ad nauseum, I believe the problems in the public sector are definitely solvable, and with relatively little-to-no pain thanks to the current context of the U.S. economy within the global economy.

However, the first part of fixing a problem is admitting there is one.  Hence my concern:

The fact is I really do respect the press.  I recognize that the press and I have different jobs to do.  My job is to be President; your job is to keep me humble.  Frankly, I think I’m doing my job better.  (Laughter and applause.)” — President Obama

I have no opinion to give on whether either party mentioned (i.e. the media or the President) is doing a good job.  Nor do I have an opinion to share as to whether one of those parties is doing better than the other.

Many people are unaware of the theoretical role of the President.  I have been fortunate enough to learn much about this issue of the role of different branches of our government.

In general, the President is supposed to focus more heavily on foreign and national security issues than the public probably realizes, at least relative to domestic economic policy.

Domestic economic policy is, theoretically, primarily the job of the Congress.  And while folks apparently are not big fans of the Congress as a whole, people do not have as big of a problem with their own Congresspeople.

Thus, in exceptional cases such as this one, when the Congress is not sufficiently dealing with fiscal policy, the President might want to consider utilizing the bully pulpit to champion optimal fiscal policy.

The role of the President is to represent the entire nation, not just one political party.  The issue was addressed well by comedian Conan O’Brien during his jokes:

“I have a question, and I think some of you also have this question,” he told the president. “It’s been several months since you were reelected, sir, so I’m curious, why are you still sending everyone five emails a day asking for more money?”

The President might want to heavily consider going on the floors of the House and Senate and explaining to them the silver bullet I mentioned yesterday regarding fiscal policy.

It takes a humble man to go in front of those with the power to solve a problem to ask them to do that which may be problematic for them politically, in hopes of them doing what is best for the entire nation.

It’s a thin line between cockiness and confidence, and the difference is humility.  I wasn’t the one that said the President isn’t sufficiently humble, but I am concerned that he chose to imply it…