Monday, December 29, 2014

Mea Culpa

2014 is almost in the rear-view mirror, and I’ll miss it. My daughter and two nieces were born. We bought a house. The kids/career/upkeep combination kept me from being as engaged with my friends as I would have liked, but that’s a forgivable and rectifiable offense. My daughter even served the role as Baby Jesus during services at the local Methodist church, putting the Christ back into Christensen.

From a political and policy perspective, though, I had to eat crow in 2014. Obamacare has contained costs better than I expected. I learned that ‘stimulating’ is stunningly more effective at fixing an economy and reducing deficits than austerity, thanks to the European experiment. I wasn’t all-out against either Obamacare or the stimulus, but I certainly thought both would perform much worse than they did. We all get a few predictions wrong, but those two issues fit into the really important stuff category, and I doubt that older, wiser 2014 Kurt would have made better predictions than younger, na├»ve 2008-2010 Kurt. After all, 2014 me voted for Evan Falchuk for Massachusetts governor, which I don’t regret; but I do regret proclaiming profusely, “Martha Coakley’s going to win anyway.” Whoops.

Which brings me to my main 2015 resolution: become smarter politically. It’s a tricky resolution given that it can take a lot of time before a particular policy or electoral decision turns out well or badly; but truth be told, a lot of my policy predictions are formed by a combination of gut-level thinking and regurgitation of NY Times columns, in addition to This Week and Fox News Sunday roundtable discussions. I should have invested time to understand the Obamacare provisions better. I should have read a little more about historical responses to major recessions. I should have simply looked at a few gubernatorial polls. Despite a healthy disdain for people who prefer opinion over evidence, I listened to pundits a lot. Shame on me.

Live and learn. I wish many experts and “news outlets” would do the same, but I digress. Sorry to those of you hoping for a funnier end-of-the-year post or a more explicit lesson for living. Instead, I’ll link you to something that’s both funny and relevant (if you grew up in the '70s or '80s, anyway, and saw Schoolhouse Rock!). Enjoy, and may 2015 be a hoot!

"... and I pretty much just happen"