Watching Sean Hannity’s interview with Donald Rumsfeld last night reminded me of Rumsfeld’s “known- knowns, known-unknowns, and unknown-unknowns” statement during a press conference in 2002. I use this construct in class to describe how to build a legal case (you build it around the known-knowns, just saved you about 50k in tuition):
“[T]here are known knowns; there are things we know we know. We also know there are known unknowns; that is to say we know there are some things we do not know. But there are also unknown unknowns – the ones we don’t know we don’t know.”
The known-knowns are the things we usually argue over — we know them. The unknown-unknowns are more fun, but amount to speculation and often devolve into conspiracy theories.
Much more interesting to me are present day known-unknowns, things we know we do not know. Focusing on policy issues, what are some known unknowns?
Let me start:
- When we will reach the tipping point in national debt.
- The number of years it will take us to recover from the increasing restrictions on offshore drilling.
- Whether and on what conditions the Obama administration will resupply Israel in the event of a full-scale Mideast war.
- Whether it will be too late to reverse Obamacare if it takes two years until the U.S. Supreme Court rules the mandate to be unconstitutional.
- The number of jobs which will not be created because of the sweeping scope of pending regulations.