Time Inconsistency in Government Policy
By David Henderson
When I teach various concepts, I try to connect them with specific stories because I find that students remember stories. This is especially important when the concept is labeled with a very abstract label. Take “time inconsistency.” When I teach that, I tell the story of Charlie Brown, Lucy, and the football.
This last week in Congress, Rep. Tim Johnson, R-IL used the same story to challenge the government’s credibility on Afghanistan. He said:
I think it was November of 1952, when I was about 6 years old, that Charles Schultz and his Peanuts comic strip came out with the annual saga where, every year, Charlie Brown comes up to the football, and Lucy tells Charlie Brown year after year, “Just one more time, we’ll let you kick ball.” And each year, she pulled the football out, only to find Charlie Brown on his rear end.
I would suggest to you, Mr. Speaker and Members of the House, in this somewhat stretched analogy, that a series of Commanders-in-Chief are Lucy, and we’re Charlie Brown, and the football is the illusive promise of a goal that we simply cannot reach.
I don’t think the analogy is stretched at all.