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The Talk-to-Walk Ratio

The Big Idea for Tuesday, October 08, 2013

There are a number of perverse incentives that contribute to the perverse atmosphere in Washington. Due to gerrymandering and campaign finance laws that greatly favor incumbents, a politician has very little reason to compromise or find an innovative solution. Staying in power is the be-all and end-all. 

John Aroutiounian, the Speaker of the Yale Political Union, on the other hand, has a different set of incentives. If he fails to ensure that meaningful intellectual confrontation happens every week, he has failed at his job. The Yale Political Union, of course, cannot exist in the real world. And yet, shouldn't we be evaluating politicians the same way we would want to rate the Speaker of a collegiate debating society?

Aroutiounian calls this the talk-to-walk ratio. It means finding solutions. Getting things done, as opposed to making 20-hour speeches. It also means we need more actual debate happening outside of the media circuit. 


  1. 1 What Washington Can Learn From the Yale Political Union
    Daniel Honan Think Tank
  2. 2 Our Founding Fathers Never Imagined Congress Would Behave This Badly
    Steven Mazie Praxis
  3. 3 Bring in the Mediator! Conflict Resolution Tips for the President, Congress, and the Rest of Us
    Andrea Chalupa Purpose, Inc.
  4. 4 Steven Pinker on Conflict Resolution
    Steven Pinker

The Talk-to-Walk Ratio

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