John Livingston News

Keep Your Eye on the Ball

“Keep your eye on the ball” were words my father would say to me many times during his life. When a fork in the road was presented to me academically, professionally, or with a decision about my family, he always wanted me to stay true to my principles and never forget about the end game.

Today we use the word “focus”, but focus can be for just a moment and is a mental act. “Keeping your eye on the ball” combines the physical with the mental and connotes a habit over a period of time. When we first started the YHI Health Insurance Exchange, I heard many people say that this was going to a) increase access to health care providers, b) improve outcomes, c) decrease costs, or d) stamp out chronic disease in Idaho. None of these things have happened.

The exchange provided access for consumers to buy subsidized insurance so they would not have to go through life worrying about having a health care catastrophe or long term cost have a claim on their future wages or wealth. Nothing more and nothing less, but that sounds like a pretty big deal to me. That is precisely what it was supposed to do and that is what it has accomplished. Nothing more and nothing less.

Yesterday I wrote about the promise of MONEY MULTIPLIERS and how economists have overplayed their positions when applying their multiplier models to whole sections and sectors of the economy instead of to more limited and measurable results like one would see with the impact of a bond issue or an investment in a single industry. Please “keep your eye on the ball”.

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We are being told in our colleges and universities that diversity in and of itself leads to increased academic achievement across all disciplines. I firmly believe in diversity of opportunity and I believe especially at the college level the best example of diversity training can be seen in the athletic departments. Whoever can run the fastest will make the team no matter their skin color or nationality.

The “RING DRILL” in football is the great equalizer. Toe the line and knock the other guy outside the ring and you get to be first string—no matter your skin color, or “‘who’s your Daddy”. It should be the same in the chemistry, math, and engineering departments and even in the humanities—where it is easier to hide behind false narratives and lack of talent and then blame “race” or any other “ism” for lack of achievement.

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