Wednesday, January 1, 2014

Ongoing change of appropriate skillful actions - another chapter of unintended consequences

When we clarify appropriate skillful action it is important to be aware that it is just now - and that ongoing change means that appropriate is changing and skillful is changing. Below are two recent examples in our national politics which we can explore and ponder:

"Millions of American property owners get flood insurance from the federal government,
 and a lot of them get a hefty discount. 
But over the past decade, the government has paid out huge 
amounts of money after floods, 
and the flood insurance program is deeply in the red.
Congress tried to fix that in 2012 by passing a law to raise insurance premiums. 

Now that move has created such uproar among property owners 

that Congress is trying to make the law it passed disappear....."
"It is buyer's remorse by the lawmakers," says Stephen Ellis, who monitors 
the ups and downs of flood insurance for a group 
called Taxpayers for Common Sense
"I mean, they did the right thing," he says.
 "And then that kind of outraged some of their constituents, who have 
howled quite loudly, and now they're talking about undoing those reforms."
Ellis says subsidized insurance from FEMA means taxpayers are 
footing part of the bill for people who 
choose to live in flood zones. Moreover, he says, artificially low premiums 
actually encourage people to rebuild where they probably shouldn't.
As Ellis sees it, Congress is saying, in essence, " 'Why didn't you protect 
us from ourselves? 

Why didn't you tell us we were doing responsible reforms that were actually 

going to cost people money and have a bit of pain involved 
because that's what has to happen?' "
For the rest of this story see:

For another area where skillful and appropriate may no longer be so due to changing conditions and actual implementation, with suggestions for what would be skillful appropriate actions now, here are excerpts from an article with the citation following.

"Forty years ago, on Dec. 28, 1973, the Endangered Species Act became law. If you want to celebrate, you'll need to close your eyes to hard truths.
A law intended to conserve species and habitat has brought about the recovery of only a fraction—less than 2%—of the approximately 2,100 species listed as endangered or threatened since 1973. Meanwhile, the law has endangered the economic health of many communities—while creating a cottage industry of litigation that does more to enrich environmental activist groups than benefit the environment.
How did things get so turned around? Blame the bureaucrats of the Endangered Species Act. They have administered the law poorly and flouted provisions designed to promote good science and good sense....."
"One reason the Endangered Species Act has spun out of control is that the federal agencies that decide whether to list a longer base decisions on what the law calls for: data....."
"How to get the Endangered Species Act back on track? A couple of straightforward reforms would have a big impact, and they could be implemented by the administration through regulatory change, without the need for legislation. First, reinstate the difference between regulations for threatened and endangered species, so that discovery of the former is welcome news of an opportunity to engage in creative environmental protection but not a threat to a landowner's livelihood.
Second, require that each biological opinion and listing determination comes with a data chart that scientifically documents the threats and the consequences for the species of not being listed....."

For the full article see:

Are there actions, habits and patterns in our life which were once appropriate and skillful but may no longer be so?

We do not face the same multiple and conflicting pressures and rigidity that the political groups in the above stories face - and yet we act based on many different forces.

Reactive habits may have once been skillful, appropriate, but are no longer so. This "no longer so" is a significant characteristic of reactive habits, and a characteristic which often results in harm and suffering - even despite intentions to do good, and the belief that this is (or at least was) appropriate and skillful.

As today is January 1, 2014, this is a good time to reflect on past and present - being present as this ongoing change that is our life.