Wednesday, November 7, 2007

New Hire Training Video

Another election day has come and gone, and all across America there are a bunch of new hires waiting to start a new job where they've promised to serve people in their city, state, or region. This post isn't about who got elected, but instead I have an idea for a new hire training video that may help convey how some of us expect a steward of the public tax dollar to conduct him/herself when making decisions about how to spend our money.

My recommended training video for the Elected Official New Hire Training Class of 2008 is ....(drum roll, please) ........ the movie "Dave." This movie came out back in the 90's and stars Kevin Kline and Sigourney Weaver. Crazy? Maybe, but hear me out.

If you haven't seen the movie, I'm not going to ruin it so it's safe to read on. The basic premise is that a presidential impersonator is hired when the President becomes incapacitated and gravely ill. Now, I don't intend this training video to include the scene showing the President getting himself into this medical predicament by cheating on his wife with a hooker and having a debilitating stroke in the middle of .... well, you know. We've already had officials who apparently saw that part of the movie and decided to model their Presidential behavior accordingly (minus the stroke, of course). I'm talking about what happens after that.

The fact that an impersonator is sitting in the oval office is kept secret from the public while a few plotters use this inside information to their own political advantage. The plan goes awry when the faux-Prez actually asserts himself in the Presidential role, and refuses to just smile and nod as initially instructed. I knew that Kevin Kline wouldn't sit back smiling and waving, but I'm not sure how this eluded the dummies who hired him. Anyway, the impersonator comes out of his shell and little by little lets his own politically inexperienced personality and unconventional decision-making skills shine through. While the movie is a comedy and you dont have to like or care about politics to enjoy it, I think it does a great job of exposing and poking fun at some of the blatantly stupid things that happen in our government. Better yet, I love how the movie takes it a step further to show how someone makes a difference by simply doing the right thing and applying some basic common sense. Uh huh .... I'm onto something with my idea to use this as a training video ... aren't I?

Still not convinced? Here's an example of one of the proposed video lessons ...... There's a scene where the faux Prez calls a "roll-up-your-sleeves" cabinet meeting where every person in the room is expected to sacrifice some unnecessary spending in order to fund a program that will provide shelter and afer-school programs for homeless children. He questions $48M allocated for a program to "boost consumer confidence in a previously-owned automobile purchase." The President asks the sponsor of that bill "Do you want to tell children they have to live on the street so people can feel better about their used car?" The sponsor is quick to agree to reallocating the money to help the children. Good golly .... what a novel idea!!!???! That's one example, but the scene unfolds to reveal volumes of stupid things costing millions and millions of dollars. Yes, it's just a movie, but there's no way I believe our budget is free from this same type of bullshit. Imagine the strides that could make into education, health care reform, or whatever else is important to you .... if only the money were available. I hate to say it, but the money is out there. Hey, if someone can find $60M to pay Tony Romo for throwing a football, I have to believe there's hope of finding money somewhere to pay teachers and healthcare institutions for taking care of the rest of us.

Now I know this is only a movie, but I think it really isn't too far off base in terms of showing how more common sense, less palm grease, and being a fiscally responsible steward of the public tax dollar could make a positive difference in the lives of many. On a much smaller level, we exercise this level of scrunity all the time when we review budgets at my company. I have to wonder if that level of scrutiny takes place in real government budget meetings without Kevin Kline present to ask the tough questions!?!

By the way ... did you ever wonder how many tax payer dollars have been spent on hearings and investigations into steroid use in baseball? There are over 46M people in this country with no health insurance. Please don't tell me our new hires think its more important to spend money talking about steroid use in baseball than getting children the appropriate screenings and immunizations.

Personally, I would love to volunteer to faciliate a federal or state budget analysis session where this level of scrunity could take place. I'd volunteer in a second. I'm sick of having my tax dollar spent on stupid, over-priced and unnecessary crap. Assuming I won't be invited to do that, I'd settle for our new hires watching the suggested training video.

1 comment:

Los said...

Those special interest groups are snakes in the grass ... they wouldn't be pushovers like those other people in the president's meeting ... plus, they probably would never agree to the meeting in the first place ... politics is a slimy beast.