Tom Foreman | BIO
Reporter's Note: The latest news from Japan is that the nuclear disaster is worse than thought.
Dear Mr. President,
Is the bad news ever going to stop over in Japan? I mean seriously. I was just reading about this upgrading (or downgrading, depending on how you see it) of their nuclear problems, and I feel as if those folks just can’t catch a break.
On a much smaller scale I’ve had bad times occasionally in my life which have seemed endless. I don’t believe in fate, or luck, I suppose, but now and then you certainly feel as if you get more than your fair share of hard times, huh?
Now, in Japan’s case, they were undeniably hit by a massive series of terrible events. But in other cases, there are times when I think that we just have too many systems operating too close to the breakdown level anyway. Then it only takes a tiny thing to make them collapse.
It’s like the DC Beltway. On a regular day it is so jammed with cars at rush hour it is barely functioning at some of the bottlenecks, so if someone gets a flat or smacks into someone else’s fender while changing lanes, that’s all it takes to bring everything to a halt. Maybe if that roadway weren’t already near the breaking point it could better accommodate such problems.
I think this has been one of the fallacies of all sorts of business and government offices trying to cut costs. While keeping expenses under control is good, if things are cut too close to the bone, there is just no wiggle room left to handle the unexpected. So things that maybe should be merely serious inconveniences turn into near disasters. An airline, for example, that has precisely enough planes and crews to handle its daily schedule might be seen by some as remarkably efficient; but the day that one person calls in sick, the whole operation screeches into chaos.
Just a thought for you to keep in mind as you work on your budget cutting plans. Sure, we can’t afford waste, but cutting is a delicate matter that must consider not only the primary goal of spending less but also the secondary one of making sure things keep working in the process.
I’m in New Orleans tonight. Bet you wish you were here. Ha!
Anderson Cooper goes beyond the headlines to tell stories from many points of view, so you can make up your own mind about the news. Tune in weeknights at 8 and 10 ET on CNN.
Questions or comments? Send an email
Want to know more? Go behind the scenes with