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Tuesday, September 15, 2015


For John, BLUFDo we really want Gov't playing mind games with us?  Nothing to see here; just move along.

From The Daily Caller Reporter Chuck Ross talks to "President Obama Orders Behavioral Experiments On American Public".

Here is the lede and following two paragraphs:

President Obama announced a new executive order on Tuesday which authorizes federal agencies to conduct behavioral experiments on U.S. citizens in order to advance government initiatives.
“A growing body of evidence demonstrates that behavioral science insights — research findings from fields such as behavioral economics and psychology about how people make decisions and act on them — can be used to design government policies to better serve the American people,”
reads the executive order, released on Tuesday.

The new program is the end result of a policy proposal the White House floated in 2013 entitled “Strengthening Federal Capacity for Behavioral Insights.”

This is all based on the research of University of Chicago economist Richard Thaler and Harvard law school professor Cass Sunstein (Nudge:  Improving Decisions About Health, Wealth, and Happiness)

Here is a good direction this can go:

This can be achieved by “administrative hurdles, shortening wait times, and simplifying forms,” the order suggests.
Here is a bad direction:
The initiative also urges agencies to tinker with how information is presented to individuals, consumers, borrowers, and program beneficiaries.

The “content, format, timing, and medium by which information is conveyed” should be taken into consideration as those characteristics affect “comprehension and action by individuals.”

In programs that offer choices for consumers, agencies are instructed to “consider how the presentation and structure of those choices, including the order, number, and arrangement of options, can most effectively promote public welfare.”

The order also suggests that agencies fiddle with whether to label certain expenditures as “benefits, taxes, subsidies” or other incentives to “efficiently promote” programs.

President Obama’s federal health care law, Obamacare, is replete with “nudge” language and experimentation.
Here is an example, but it borders on fudging the language to achieve a goal.
Another nudge contained in Obamacare was brought to light in the debate over whether the individual mandate contained in the law was a tax hike.

Republicans insisted that it was a tax increase, but the White House portrayed it as a penalty on the logic that the word “tax” has a negative connotation.

I guess, as long as we have a Free Press, not beholding to this or that political party or bureaucratic group, this could be a good thing.

Regards  —  Cliff

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