So now we have two prominent Massachusetts politicians who have made strident criticisms of health reform at the most critical moment. One, Tim Cahill, has left the Democrats, the other, Steve Lynch, thinks the party and the country is pretty much the same as when Paul Dever was Governor in 1949. This will take a lot of sorting out, but one common element joining these two pols is the Dunning-Kruger effect. Summarized by its authors, the effect occurs when “people reach erroneous conclusions and make unfortunate choices but their incompetence robs them of the …ability to realize it” People in the Dunning-Kruger world are certain that they are smarter than those around them; incompetents are the ones most convinced of their competence.
Forty private minutes with the President is not going to convince Rep. Lynch to change his position on the HCR bill. State Treasurer Cahill feels perfectly justified in proclaiming from the rooftops that health reform will bankrupt Massachusetts. Who should know better?
In our search for dark motives and complex tactics, let’s use Occam’s razor and select the simplest explanation. These are two sad cases of delusions of competence. And the only cure for these two is for them to become competent.
On a related note, it was heartening to see two members of the Mass. Connector board take Cahill to task. Now is an excellent time for the Board to get serious on steps to control costs. A little jawboning about fee-for-service problems won’t cut it. And without cost controls, the other half of the health care equation, Cahill might end up being more right than wrong.