Monday, August 28, 2006

Cutting the Fat

On the plane back from Los Angeles I was catching up on some reading, and this excerpt from The World is Flat caught my attention...

It's hard to create a human bond with e-mail and streaming Internet. The next day, I had dinner with my friend Ken Geer, who runs a media company that I discuss in greater detail later. Ken had a similar lament: So many contracts were going these days to the advertising firms that were selling just numbers, not creative instinct. Then Ken said something that really hit home with me: "It is like they have cut all the fat out of the business and turned everything into a numbers game. But fat is what gives meat its taste," Ken added. "The leanest cuts of meat don't taste very good. You want it marbled with at least a little fat."

The flattening process relentlessly trims the fat out of business and life, but, as Ken noted, fat is what gives life taste and texture. Fat is also what keeps us warm.

Texas Governor Rick Perry recently ordered across the board cuts of 10% from the operating budgets of all state agencies. He has made it an annual practice to order cuts of 10-15% every year since he became governor. State agencies responsible for functions such as child support collections, child protective services, children's health insurance, health and family services - all have been reduced by 25-40% over the past few years. It occurs to me that we have gone well beyond cutting the fat to cutting into the marrow that provides life support to the most vulnerable among us.

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