January 16, 2009
The Politician Who Loves the Crisis
By Jim Babka

Quote of the Day: "You never want a serious crisis to go to waste." - Rahm Emmanuel, Barack Obama's Chief of Staff

Subject: The politician who loves the crisis

Rahm Emmanuel loves the financial crisis. He sees it as an opportunity. His admission of this fact, which we've used as our quote of the day, is breathtaking. 

Mr. Emmanuel tried to moderate his enthusiasm for exploiting the crisis by claiming that his desire wasn't for big government, but for good government. But has Mr. Emmanuel ever acted as if good government was consistent with smaller government? We doubt it. 

Mr. Emmanuel isn't alone in seeing crisis as an opportunity to make government "gooder" by making it bigger. Donald Rumsfeld famously wanted to exploit the 9-11 attack by "roping in everything," including Iraq. And that is what they did.

One "crisis" event was used to create another crisis. Now it's happening again.

Consider what this means: What do the politicians think of you? They think you aren't wise enough to accept their grand plans for remaking the world, so you have to be scared into doing the right thing. Their grand plans require crisis to be implemented. This way of thinking also implies that only the politicians know what the right thing is.

Your plans and my plans, and all the individual plans of 300 million Americans, must be superseded by the plans of the politicians and their court intellectuals. But what's the likelihood that such a small group of people really knows how 300 million individuals should live -- how their affairs should be regulated and their money spent?

And what happens when they're wrong? If you and I make mistakes in our small plans for our own lives, the consequences effect only ourselves and maybe a few people around us. But when the politicians' grand plans go wrong, millions, perhaps everyone, is harmed in a grand way.

But isn't this very nearly the definition of a crisis -- something that harms everyone?

If politicians have the power to help everyone, then they also have the power to harm everyone. But what they can never have is enough knowledge to predict the full consequences of their grand, universal "do-gooder" plans.

Knowledge is decentralized. All of us have pieces of the puzzle. This is why small, decentralized plans tend to work, creating massive progress from the bottom-up. It's also why grand plans, from the top-down, blow-up.

Here at we think we need to have a few, bottom-up plans of our own. We need to figure out how to stop the politicians from creating and exploiting crises. But, unlike the politicians, our plans must not be grand and universal. They should be humble and flexible, capable of being implemented in small increments.

We can't pretend to know, in advance, all the steps needed to curtail the politicians' power to create and exploit crises. No one one bill, by itself, will stop political opportunism and meddling. But we can know the rough dimensions of what our plan must achieve. Above all, we can be fairly certain of the need to make our ideas heard at the same volume as the grand claims of the crisis exploiters.

Some would attempt to accomplish this from the top-down, by finding a few large donors, and then buying lots of advertising with their donations. But large donors can change their minds or even pass on, and any plan based on them risks a large collapse at almost any moment -- kind of like the plans the politicians prefer. We take the opposite approach . . .

* We want to fund our plan from the bottom-up, with lots of small and average donations, especially monthly pledges.
* We'll then use our success in building this base of monthly pledgers to attract larger donors who will be the icing on the cake, rather than the cake itself.

It's working.

Our ability to attract a stable base of monthly pledgers is what earned us the support of the major donors who gave us the financial lever we needed to pre-fund all of our basic operations for all of 2009.

We're now in a position to spend nearly all the additional money we raise in 2009 to do outreach and recruitment. No other organization I'm aware of is in such a position. Think of what this means to you . . .

Nearly every additional dollar we raise will fund outreach that will recruit new people who will exert more pressure on Congress and fund still more outreach to recruit still more people. We're now at the point where we can create an ever growing spiral of outreach, education, recruitment, and direct pressure on Congress.

Already this month, we've added a couple of new pledgers and raised more than $1,200. This money is accumulating, and will soon amount to something that can accomplish something. Here's what we need to move forward EACH MONTH this year: 

* Just $6,000 a month (beyond reoccurring pledges)
* Just 20 new monthly pledgers each month -- less than one a day

This message is going out to more than 24,000 people. These targets seem quite doable.

We'll be presenting the first phase of our outreach plan to you in just a few weeks. We anticipate investing $50-60,000 throughout this year -- eight to ten times what we've spent on direct outreach in our four year history. Could you help make this happen by making . . . 

a) a generous one-time contribution or,
b) becoming a monthly pledger

The size and impact DC Downsizers can have is a matter of funds. The growth of the army depends on you.

Thank you,

Jim Babka
President, Inc.        

P.S. This afternoon (Friday) Jim Babka is scheduled to be on Straight Talk w/ Jerry Hughes on the Accent Radio Network. Details are available in this October blog post.

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