Imagine that you could make a change in an entitlement program that reduces the cost to the taxpayers and enhances the value of the program for the beneficiaries—at the same time. Who could possibly object to that?

I think there are thousands of opportunities to make those types of win/win policy changes in government programs. These changes ought to be irresistible to politicians—whether Republican or Democrat, conservative or liberal. After all, win/win means that everyone comes out ahead. There are no losers. Who could object to that?

Yet win/win is just about the last thing our representatives seem disposed to talk about. It’s almost as if members of Congress think they were sent there to do battle. If they don’t draw blood, if someone doesn’t suffer as a result of their efforts, they apparently think they aren’t doing their jobs. Perhaps for that reason, Washington is dominated by a zero sum mentality: everyone’s gain must be offset by someone else’s loss.