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Archive for the ‘government bureaucracy’ Category

Never Full

Posted by heyrandy on September 5, 2009

I like spending money. When I spend my own money, my natural parsimony controls my wants. When the money is not mine, I am cautious about what I buy. This is because I must account for what I spend. Fear of exposure imposes a discipline.

The governments have no real check on their spending. Unless prohibited by law, government at all levels will spend wildly. They spend worse that  drunken sailors. Drunken sailors stop spending when they are broke. When governments run out of money they just raise taxes or borrow more. If you are the federal government you can also print more.

Governments spend for one reason: to survive. Governments are bureaucracies. The first rule of bureaucracy is to perpetuate itself. The second rule of bureaucracy is to expand itself. This requires money. Since governments do not produce a good or a service that can effectively compete with private companies (try to name one), they must get their money by force. Force is something governments are very good at using.

Governments fear exposure. Exposure causes momentary embarrassment but no real change. In reaction to the embarrassment, elected and appointed officials make all kinds of motions about this and that. Lots of blah blah blah. When the smoke clears, it is all just a temporary disturbance. Nothing will be different. If it is a egregious embarrassment some low level employee will be sacrificed to appease the press and the public. Then all is forgotten. Unlike a latrine, the memory hole is never full.

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I Was Surveilled, But I Feel Better

Posted by heyrandy on March 29, 2008

I committed a crime.  Or so I feel.  I have been suffering through a head cold, and today I went out to Wal-Mart to buy some genuine, store brand pseuophedrine.  This is the stuff that seems to work best when I need to dry up my sinuses.  I have tried to make do with the new, non-criminal versions, but they are not quite as effective.

So, I went to the store and got some drugs.  It is not as easy as it used to be.  Before, you just went to the shelf and got a package and then paid for it.  Now, in our more secure world, I had to ask for it.  It is kept in the area in which the prescription drugs are shelved.  I had to show my driver’s license (i.e., my universal identity papers).  The clerk then entered the license number into the computer.  I had to mark “agree” and sign on the electronic screen that displayed some verbiage.

I am not sure what is the point of all this.  The stuff is not illegal, yet.  I am an adult, graying hair and all.  So what is the matter?  Why the big procedure to buy 48 nose pills?

It is true that some enterprising individuals are using the active ingredient to make an illegal pleasure drug.  Okay, but why does that affect the rest of us?  Are the cops now going to raid my house to see if I am taking my medication as intended?  If I am not, do I have to give back the pills?

Is all this restriction and recording really effective?  Do the dope manufactures now have to find illegal sources for their base ingredient?   Are clandestine dope makers feeling the pinch?  Or is this more Big Brother is watching, waiting for someone to mark “disagree”?

Get used to this kind of non-sense.  Not only are we subjected to inconvenience and expense of the farce that passes as airport security, it seems that the jobs for the boys initiative is spreading to all areas, even head colds.  Now I don’t feel so good.

Posted in government bureaucracy, health care, security | Leave a Comment »

free speech, rip

Posted by heyrandy on February 25, 2008

Free speech is dead. It died by strangulation. The politically correct zealots are the garroters. Let all now pause for a moment of silence. A very long moment. In fact, one should just be quiet; it is a lot safer. It would be wise to stay indoors, with the shades drawn and the lights off. Don’t answer the door. (If it is the cops, they will just break it down.) Discretion is the key to survival. Avoid all college campuses.

The king is dead: long live the king. What king? This is always the question: What takes its place of the old? Who anoints the new king? The people who killed the old king. Who is the new king? The accepted truth, dissent not allowed under penalty of slander, unemployment, ostracism or worse. Much worse, but not yet. You want to be king? Kill the king. Then kill all contenders. And contender want to bes. People respect firmness. Show them. You will, or should have.

It follows the established pattern: get power, suppress dissent, cow opponents, destroy rivals. The constitution only applies as those in power want it to apply. You are not in power. You may believe in freedom. Too bad for you. Next time believe in power. Then your speech will be free. What of your opponents? Let them get their own power, if they can pry it out of your cold dead fingers. They will try. It is how you got it from he who got it that way. It is a tradition. Absolute power is best. It eliminates the ambiguity of partial venality. Don’t go half way: it gives your enemies an opening. Emulate Cain, eliminate them.

You may have paid for the microphone, but you cannot plug it in here. This is not the free speech zone. It is over there, way over there. Down the street and around the corner, inside the fence, out of sight, away from the crowd. It is for your own safety; you can not hurt anyone here. Remove your shoes so we can search them. We are keeping our eye on you, for your safety. Trust us. We are from the government. It doesn’t matter if you don’t like it. We know best what is good for you.  The proper procedures will be followed. The effect does not matter as long as the papers are filed.

To be safe you must tolerate a tiny loss of freedom. Not much. Just a little, and a little more each time. It is only a little. You must be safe in a free country. We are just doing our job. Your papers, please. Please step over here, out of sight.  And out of mind of those who actually could help you. Just prove your innocence and you are free to go after we process the paperwork. I will get to it soon; I have a lot of work to do. I will get to yours right after I come back from break, tomorrow.  Just be patient.  We have procedures to follow, you know. You will. Especially if you make trouble.  I am authorized to use usually non-lethal force.

We are many. We out number you. Resistance is futile.  My job is guaranteed.  Pay your taxes.

Posted in free speech, freedom, government bureaucracy, security, Uncategorized | Leave a Comment »

Don’t like government schools? Too bad

Posted by heyrandy on February 9, 2008

Does your local government run (“public”) school not meet you approval? No? You can go down to the school office and complain. They will give you a tax refund because their service is so bad, and you are so dissatisfied. You know, just like so many other businesses do when confronted with irate customers. You can even take your business elsewhere; there are so many choices.

Ok, time to get real. It is generally agreed that what is misnamed public education is really doing a bad job. But what kind of bad job? Kids who can’t read, can’t spell, or can’t add kind of bad job. I have forgotten how close to the bottom in worldwide rating the US schools are ranked. It doesn’t matter. All that matters to most parents and students is the school they are stuck with. If they don’t like the school they are forced to use, too bad for them.

There is no incentive for schools to change. Ask not “Why don’t they change?” Ask instead “What happens if they don’t change?” Answer: they get more money from the taxpayers. What politician is willing to cut funding from the schools because the schools are doing a poor job? Politicians are not only loathe to cut school funding, they positively trumpet the increases that they get for the schools in their districts. You don’t get reelected by opposing the schools. School change? “Sure, we just need more money to do a better job. Just look at the improvements we made the last time we got more money”, say the schools. Well actually, the schools never say they have justified the increases they received by pointing out improvements in student performance; there is usually little improvement, but there is always more money given to them.

Public school are a government protected monopoly. As with all other monopolies, the quality is poor and the price is high. What is the expendure per student in your district? About what it costs to send someone to a private college? When has the cost gone anywhere but up?

The ever increasing costs of operating the government schools has a hidden benefit for those schools:  it reduces competition.  The tax burden placed on the average family to support government schools goes along way to prevent families from being able to afford an alternative education for their children.  It is hard to pay both taxes to the schools and tuition at a non-government school.
It will be difficult to raise the quality in public schools. Even if there is genuine motivation to do so, the system has been in failure mode for so long that now the leaders of the system are the products of the system: the teachers have been dumbed down.

But why don’t parents want change? Because behind all the noise made about improvement, the fact is that the schools are just about what the average parent wants. They too are products of the system. The system does not encourage dissident thinking. Budget cutting is dissident thinking of the worst sort. A local school budget meeting erupted into actual violence when the idea was broached that extracurricular sports programs be cut back (not eliminated). It shows some of what the reformers face when such a modest proposal is violently suppressed.  Johnny can’t read so well, but just look at his hook shot!

In my own districts both people running for the two open seats on the local school board said nothing about the taxpayers when they gave their reasons for wanting to be elected. I guess our job is to shut up, pay and be grateful that it doesn’t cost us even more. (Just wait, it will.) It is this guaranteed source of endless money that really thwarts reforms. Why change when it does not cost you but rewards you to stay as you are?

The only real chance of change is the home school movement. If enough people withdraw their children from the government thought factories, the system will be betrayed as the expensive fraud that it really is. While the home school movement will continue to grow, it will be a long time before it reaches the critical size to threaten the Monopoly. Home schooling will also have to withstand a legal challenge mounted by its enemies and their unlimited, taxpayer funded legal budget.

So things go on as they have been for a long time: the students do poorly; the schools want more money;  the taxpayers give it.  It’s great work if you can get it.  A lot of people get it.  That is why it never changes.

Posted in education, government bureaucracy, government schools, Uncategorized | 1 Comment »

Big Brother, MD

Posted by heyrandy on January 18, 2008

It is the received wisdom of the vocal that the government (usually meaning the federal version) should provide health insurance (really health care) for all citizens (and, according to some, all non-citizens) who do not otherwise have it. Those who advocate for such government intervention into the health care of its citizens usually do not see any reason such intrusions would do anything but solve a problem. There is seldom any discussion of the underlying issues raised by actions of government.

To begin a discussion of government funded health care one needs to determine just which part of health care the government does not already control. The federal government already provides health care for military personnel and for their dependents; for the veterans, for both service and non-service needs; and for all recipients of Medicare and Medicaid. The Food and Drug Administration controls all prescription medicines. The state governments control the licensing of all medical professionals. The state and local governments control public health issues through various boards of health. The local government schools require vaccinations before students may attend. Hospitals are government regulated. Medical schools are under government control. Much of the medical research is funded with tax money. Even private health insurance us regulated by the states.

What is left? Is it just a matter of who pays how much for what for whom? Are there any other issues? The matter of who pays is a major matter. The cost projections of government programs have never been accurate. The recent prescription drug legislation was presented to the public as costing a lot less than later estimates. No one knows what the real costs are, but they are always higher than projected. It is not just the military that is plagued with cost over runs. There is no incentive for government at any level to reduce costs. All talk of eliminating “waste, fraud and abuse” is only a ploy to keep up the appearance of responsible management to perpetuate the bureaucracy. What government agency, department, commission, bureau, office, administration, or committee has ever recommended a reduction of its budget, much less its own elimination? No elected official wants any cut in government spending in his constituency. Why it’s, it’s, un-American! Sadly, it is. It’s also a weapon to be used by the challenger in the next election against the incumbent. Often with success.

From where will this money come? There is no magic method of free money. Someone has to pay. There is no free lunch, even if it is the government doing the cooking.

It is the taxpayers who will pay. It is never any other way. The taxpayers are the only ones with the money. They will pay both directly to finance the government’s program and to finance the interest on the debt the government incurs to keep the taxpayers from knowing the real cost. The taxpayers (and non-taxpayers) will also pay through inflation caused by the government’s debasement of our currency through its money creation monopoly. This is the real secret to financing things that cost too much: just print more dollars!

How much will be paid? Who gets to set the price? How will this price be determined? Who is asking these questions? Who is answering?

It is an old principle that the buyer sets the price. This is only true in a free market. Because of its legal authority to use force, the government can set any price it wants. This renders the market controlled. The only way that the government can control costs is to decree the price it is willing to pay and force the providers to accept it. The providers will use their political influence to have that price set very high. This is the way it always works.

What services and products will be covered for how long? Advocates of the “universal, single payer” system don’t spend much time on this question. They are wise not to do so. Rationing is the dirty word. Just because we don’t like to acknowledge the elephant in the living room does not mean that it is not there. Someone will have to say what is covered and not covered. All private insurance companies do this.

While rationing will be a reality, it will not be obvious. Various methods of duplicity will be employed: enormous amounts of paperwork, the usual bureaucratic run around and red tape, shortages, waiting times will be (except for the elite) horrendous (yes, I can see you are bleeding, but your number has not yet been called).

The question of coverage goes beyond what is provided. We will also need to know what is mandatory. Will pregnant women be required to have and abortion if it is determined that their child has a very expensive to treat illness? Will the very old and sick be told to go home and die, quickly? Will there be any appeal? How will those with political influence be prevented from using it? Can you believe that your elected officials will get the same coverage and service you do? Who decides? Who decides who decides?

It is also an old principle that the payer of the piper calls the tune. Since the taxpayers are the ones paying, they will call the heath care tune. No. We elect people to government office; they will call the tune. No. The elected ones hire agency employees; they will call the health care tune, just as they do in every other area in which they are in control. Yes, it is the bureaucrats, the faceless ones, who will issue the regulations and guidelines, usually in a dialect that resembles English but is really only known to them. We mere mortals have very little hope of understanding this stuff. Even the Internal Revenue Service cannot give the right tax advice. But what if we do not like the regulations and guidelines? Too bad. What if the bureaucrats get it wrong and something untoward happens? There will be some kind of a grievance process, but who of the faceless ones has ever lost a job because something untoward happened if the approved procedures were followed and the proper paperwork filed?

The tune calling by the government goes beyond rules governing health care products and services. Government control of health care will give the government bureaucrats authority to regulate what you eat and drink to a larger extent than they now do. If the next government sponsored food pyramid farce says that something is to be avoided, the faceless ones could simply prohibit its existence. It is more likely it will be taxed out of existence. It also may seem to some government expert, purely in the interest of your health and well being, that you are required to eats certain things. Let’s hope that it is not broccoli, George.

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