“Moneyball” for Government

By Kevin Madden and Howard Wolfson

We have sparred privately and publicly on a range of issues on any number of occasions. But on this one, we both agree: government should — and can — play “Moneyball.”

“Moneyball for Government” grew out of the approach pioneered by Billy Beane, former general manager of the Oakland Athletics baseball organization, who transformed baseball by using data to build championship teams with a limited budget. His story was told in the book by Michael Lewis and the 2011 movie.

During the 2012 presidential election, a full 15% of voters surveyed said that the federal budget deficit was the most important issue facing the country. That was three times the number who cited foreign policy as their top concern and only narrowly behind those who named health care. Leading up to the 2014 midterm elections, 80% of respondents in a Gallup poll indicated that they worried about the federal budget deficit a great deal or a fair amount.

There’s no question: how to spend government revenue more effectively is very much on the minds of the American people — Democrats and Republicans.

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