Washington, We Can Do This
By U.S. Senators Kelly Ayotte (R-NH) and Mark Warner (D-VA)
By now, everyone has heard of the story of baseball’s Oakland Athletics and their 2002 season, immortalized by Michael Lewis in the book (and the movie) Moneyball. Recognizing his team’s limitations and scarce resources, Oakland general manager Billy Beane pioneered the use of performance data, rather than unscientific scouting reports, to drive his player draft selections. It is a compelling story, and the result was Oakland’s record-setting American League winning streak.
But before Beane and the A’s achieved success with what came to be known as Moneyball, there were losing streaks, doubters and cynics.
As we start the new year, Washington is in much the same position, facing poor approval ratings, a dismal performance record and an American public that is understandably doubtful that hyperpartisan Washington can get anything done. Given all the dysfunction, it’s easy to assume nothing productive will ever come out of a Washington that’s this broken. But while it would be easy to assume that, it would also be wrong.
What if we became more data-driven in our pursuit of better outcomes, and based more of our policy choices and spending decisions on real evidence of effectiveness and efficiency? We could play our own brand of Moneyball, and help Washington turn the tide on behalf of American families.