Archive for January, 2009

Teaching ethical values to our children is not a legitimate use of government. Government should be limited to defending the rights of its citizens, not legislating morality or ethics. It is the responsibility of adults to decide how they will pursue their happiness even if those pursuits are self-destructive.
Argh! What moron came up with the Vista file permissions system? I hope their division was part of the recent layoffs. They were not very good at their jobs. I like to keep my download directory as empty as possible. Normally, this means deleting patches and installation files after running them. This morning I decided to catch up on some deleting. I got to one directory of ASP scripts that I wanted to keep, so I decided to move them to my documents folder. Apparently, the morons that coded this file system thought this particular directory should be owned by a program and not by me. I found this article which allows me to take ownership of files that Microsoft decided I should own with a right-click menu option. Windows 7 should come with a button that can be pushed by people who own one computer, that is used by one user who never has anyone looking over his shoulder and does not need all the passwords and permissions and encryption and other crap that gets in the way. Above all, Windows 7 needs a Stop Helping Me button.
Only government could pay $646,214 per government job and think it a bargain. That’s the estimated cost given by Alan Reynolds at CATO based on the math behind the latest Stimulus Bill. In a Wall Street Journal Reynolds said:
Mr. Zandi’s current estimates have government employment growing by 330,400 over two years as a result of the House bill (compared with 244,000 in Bernstein-Romer paper). Yet even that updated figure still amounts to only 8.3% of total jobs added, even though state and local governments are to receive 39% of the funds ($214.5 billion). Spending $214.5 billion to create or save 330,400 government jobs implies that taxpayers are being asked to spend $646,214 per job.
An Australian woman is told by government bureaucrats that her twin sister cannot live in the same country she lives in. Why didn’t the reporter ask her whether she supports bureaucrats guarding her national borders? That’s what I want to know. Is she getting what she deserves because she has always supported bureaucrat-supervised border crossings or is she a true victim of a democratic process gone wrong. Australia illustrates the incompetence of bureaucrats at guarding national border. Even done competently, this is not legitimate use of government. Ah, what a tangled web we create when fist we practice to regulate. I think the root of this problem is in publicly owned resources. With the existence of publicly owned resources there is a demand to protect those resources. Since there is no private owner, we are forced to use government bureaucrats to provide that protection. We could contract the protection of our borders to private protectors, but we would still be using bureaucrats to select those private protectors. If all resources were private then each private resource owner would decide how to protect their resource. Some private owners might allow public access to their resource on the condition that they have limited liability protection from users. If I had a twin sister and I wanted her to live in my privately owned home I would need to contract with other private resource owners to allow her to gain access to my private property from her current location. Should I run into a necessary private resource owner who refuses my sister use of their resource than I would need to find some similar private resource owner who is willing to do so. Should all the needed resource owners discover that my twin sister is a suicide bomber then I will probably be blocked in legally getting my sister to my house or I will have to pay a very high premium to use those private resources. Does all this red tape sound the same as publicly owned resources, like roads, borders and passports? It is similar. But I can access private owners with the use of money (or economic power). To reach bureaucrats I need political power. Money is freely available, especially private money. Political power is a much more scarce resource and much more expensive to obtain.
I received an email from Townhall Spotlight today. Like all fiscal conservative groups, Townhall is all for smaller government except when it comes to defense spending. Then the sky is the limit. Never mind the DoD cannot account more than $1 trillion in inventory, let’s feed them more taxpayer money. I’m sure they will handle it right this time. So I trotted over to their latest project to cut government size by spending $12 billion on the F-22 fighter. I read a little bit of what they wanted and decided that I didn’t want to lump a $12 billion fighter plane project in with my monthly bills. Maybe I’ll spend the money in March. Who Knows? Then I went over to the White House web site to get the President’s email address. I got a support form. Go take a look at it. I starts with these words:
President Obama is committed to creating the most open and accessible administration in American history. To send questions, comments, concerns, or well-wishes to the President or his staff, please use the form below:
Wow. That sounds great, but actions are louder than words. Try using Google AutoFill to fill in the form. It’s completely screwed up because the form designers used form field names with a prefix of ctl05$txt. So, the last name field is named ctl05$txtLastName which fools the Google Autofill feature. So I have to fill the form in by hand. Next I get down to the box to add my comment.
Message Please limit your entry to 500 characters.
500 Characters! Holy Crap, I’d better be succinct. So much for “creating the most open and accessible administration” blah blah blah. Don’t listen to politicians. Watch them. Actions always speak louder than words. Here’s what I sent:
I just received an email from Townhall Spotlight about saving the F-22 Raptor project. It seems it is up to the President to fund the project. Apparently the project employs 95,000 and costs at least $12 billion dollars. That’s a pretty steep price for jobs. Before you spend taxpayer money please do what taxpayers do. Think about whether there is any better use for that money. Can I pay the rent? Can I pay down some debt? Do I have enough money for groceries? Can I buy a jet fighter?
For those wishing not to do the math, taxes generally cost about 20% in compliance cost and 8% in collection costs. So, a dollar in government spending required somebody to spend $1.30 ( ( $1 + $0.20 ) / ( $1 – $0.08 ) ). A $12 biilion project requires people in the private sector to spend more than $15.6 billion dollars on taxes. $15.6 billion divided by 95,000 jobs equals $164,211 per job. That’s a pretty steep price for jobs.