On June 22, the NBA will conduct its player draft. Lots of speculation is swirling around with sports pundits weighing the options and odds on which team will draft which college player. It made me start thinking about the process and, as so often happens; I began to see it in political terms.
The sports pundits’ political counterparts are droning on and on about the President’s budget proposal and the merits or demerits of each item contained therein. And there seems to be no chance of — dare I say it — a balanced budget.
This is so frustrating. If you or I sat down with a handful of other adults who, year after year balance our own personal budgets, making the hard decisions to keep our families solvent; we could hammer out a balanced budget for this country. I’m sure of it. But, apparently, common sense does not prevail butting up against partisan politics.
So, I propose a “Budget Draft,” and here’s how it would work.
First, deal with the items in the budget upon which compromise can be reached and cast them in stone.
Second, for the remaining line items, look to the drafting process in sports: a selection rotation.
Third, the Democratic Team Leader and the Republican Team Leader pick their players from among their colleagues. Each team should have an equal number of, let’s say, five members. These established team players are there to advise their Team Leader as to the strategy to employ in the draft when their turn in the selection rotation comes up. And, because the President is, after all, the “Team Leader-in-Chief,” he has a place in the rotation as well.
Fourth, the three teams then take turns, alternately selecting a line item of the budget upon which compromise was not reached. The team using their “pick” for an item can then craft it to their specifications or delete it altogether. No discussion. No bickering. Once the choice is made, the budget item will be treated just as the drafting team dictates.
Great thought must be given to not only your own team’s order of line item selection, but to gauging how important any given line item is to the opposing teams as well. You don’t want another team picking an item you want before you get around to it.
I think that the threat of no discussion and no recourse on items you failed to pick up in the draft could very well make compromising in the beginning go a little smoother. Maybe, just maybe, our representatives in Congress would come to realize that getting something of what you want is better than risking getting nothing of what you want.
Politicians so often use sports analogies in their rhetoric. Wouldn’t it be something if, instead of just talk, they saw fit to build on a sports prototype to not only balance the national budget, but actually get back to negotiating and compromising on the pressing issues of our day?
It’s just a thought.