When I learned that Gene Krebs was writing a book about why most public policies fail, I knew we needed to interview him for an Ideas & Voices page.
Krebs has been a state representative, a county commissioner, a think-tank executive (with the Greater Ohio Policy Center) and a school board member, and now tends to his farm near Camden in Preble County. And if you ever watch “Columbus On the Record” on the Ohio Channel, you may have seen Krebs, a frequent panelist, on the program.
Krebs, a Republican, was also was asked by Gov. John Kasich to serve on the state’s Local Government Innovation Council — a group that awards grants to promote consolidation, collaboration and shared services, something Krebs would like to see more of. He admits he’s disappointed more local governments, especially in the Miami Valley, don’t apply. (“We are trying to make a group of people who are not, by their nature, entrepreneurs and innovators become entrepreneurs and innovators,” he says peevishly of local bureaucrats. “If they were entrepreneurs, they’d be in business.”)
We spent a rainy winter afternoon at his farmhouse recently, talking about his book and why Ohio needs to streamline local government.
In his book, Krebs will explain that most government policies tend to fail because of unintended consequences, and hopes to offer a practical formula to help public-policy makers foresee how their plans potentially could backfire. He shared some interesting examples of failed policies in his funny and often irreverent style.
Let me know what you think about today’s Q&A and Krebs’ views. You can drop me a line at email@example.com.