The everybody Impossibilty

When you’re in any position of authority or decision-making, you cannot make everyone happy. And yet, so many “leaders” try to bounce from outraged group to outraged group, hoping to magically make the majority happy enough that they won’t set something on fire.

Here’s the bind the local city council has painted themselves into: a good chunk of the current administration (including the mayor) ran on the “zero percent tax raise” promise, and a few of the ones who didn’t explicitly run on that promise are still trying to meet it. But, as budgets are wont to do, the current revenue doesn’t match the upcoming costs, so currently there would have to be about a 1.5% tax increase. Low, but not zero, and they ran on an absolute, so zero they chase after. Now they are considering tinkering with the multi-year infrastructure budget in order to meet this year’s big zero promise. So there are 3 possible outcomes:

1.magic money from out of the blue pays off shortfall.

2.city taxes are raised by 1.5% and the politicians are branded as liars and hated.

3. Repairs and maintenance are delayed, increasing the final deferred cost and infuriating the voters when a big section of road disappears into another sinkhole (sinkholes are kind of our thing).

Barring the magical solution, city council will be making some big group of residents pretty angry. Add to the mix the inconsistent prioritizing of the mayor and council, where they vacillate between complete stinginess and wide-eyed no-expense-barred city beautifiers, and you have a recipe for a messy and unproductive 2 years until the next election.

Whenever you make a promise that is rigidly defined, you remove your own ability to adjust your plan to meet an unexpected situation. If you vow to scrap a law, for example, then you’re bound to doing that no matter what. Even if there are some sections of the law that still have value, or if there are ancillary elements that are functional and beneficial, you have to throw it all out. Those kind of promises are clear examples of bad leadership, so please be wary when they start wooing you. Of course, when you don’t make simplistic vows to make specific changes, your opponents accuse you of standing for nothing and having no plan.  Can’t please everybody.

 

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