Posts Tagged ‘accountability’

ACC on the Agenda.

1. March 2011

The Arts of Collin County project is finally on the Frisco City Council agenda tonight. In light of this, I’m going to repost links to my old posts about it in the hope that it might change someone’s mind. This project is a bad idea, y’all, and here’s why:

Arts of Collin County.

On the Poor Timing of the ACC.

These two take on both its idealogical failings and fiscal perils. Please read them, pass them on and come out in support of getting the ACC added to the ballot so that the citizens who are going to have to pay for it have a chance to vote on it.

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Working in Wisconsin.

25. February 2011

Last week I had three tests and a mock trial tournament that I had to attend to, so I was somewhat out of the loop, merely breezing past most headlines in my RSS reader and largely skipping the first section of the Wall Street Journal, opting to go straight for the Money & Investing section. What I did manage to see was about Libya and Egypt for the most part. I had heard a little about what’s happening in Wisconsin from the guys at BoingBoing and while their coverage was rather tilted, it was still informative.

I took some time today to read up on what’s been going on. Wisconsin has no money for its public sector unions and the union members don’t want to lose their awesome benefit packages, which is understandable, as they have negotiated a rather sweet deal for themselves.

The following video was brought to my attention by the folks at Reason and created by the Heritage Foundation.

Now, obviously it’s slightly biased as it is from Heritage, but I think that the union supporters were given a reasonably fair chance to make their points. I noticed a few things in the videos that made me snicker, like the repeated references to Nazi Germany, the “Care about educators like they care for your children” signs and the prevailing “Us vs. The World” mentality exhibited by the union supporters and members.

The simple truth is this: this is both a union-busting bill and a budget bill. Of course the governor wants to bust the unions; they’re horribly inefficient, expensive and powerful and to boot, their ideology is largely homogeneous, which is a problem come election time. That they are inefficient and expensive are a large part of the budget problem, and to help bring the budget into line, things must be done to cut spending, which includes cutting union expenses.

The governor doesn’t want to cut spending on the unions because he hates the union members, he’s doing it because he can’t afford to do anything else. If he doesn’t cut union expenses, then he’ll have to cut from other budgets, and no one wants to see reduced budgets for state highway maintenance or education or whatever else state governments do that most people actually like. (As a libertarian, I have trouble naming any state programs that I wouldn’t mind seeing cut, either marginally or in their entirety. Use your imagination for this bit if you don’t mind.)

I just don’t see why teachers and postal workers and the like need collective bargaining. I really don’t understand it. If a teacher can’t teach, why should they keep their job? What is it about working for the government that changes the broadest requirements for keeping one’s job: being able to do that job? Teachers are, as they claim, some of the most important people in societies; the information they give to kids effectively shapes the future. They might ought to get more money for what they do, and if we privatized the system, I’d wager that they actually would. The trade-off, though, is that they would have to produce results that justify that extra money, and they might not have a job if they’re bad enough.

Wisconsin public-sector union employees, you’ve just got to hold your breath and get through the next few years. The perk of working for the government is increased job security. The trade-off is reduced compensation. You can’t have both, and you risk additional reductions in compensation when your employer, the government, is having a bad year or decade, as it were, just as private non-union employees do. But at least you don’t have to be as worried about being fired. Unfortunately for the taxpayers, I’m sure you’ll be back at your original compensation levels or higher when revenues go back up.

USA PATRIOT Act.

7. February 2011

The USA PATRIOT Act is up for reauthorization in the House tomorrow. Unfortunately, there are only forty minutes of scheduled debate and no opportunities for amendments. Please write your Representative and tell them not to vote for it under these conditions. The PATRIOT Act abridges your rights in the name of national security. A power so unlimited in the hands of the government deserves to be well-regulated and well-debated.

If you would like to write your Representative, I have a form letter below that you may feel free to use, or you may compose your own email.

Representative __________,
I implore you, do not vote for a suspension calendar with the USA PATRIOT Act on it. Though terrorism can be a threat, there are more effective ways to fight it than allowing for a suspension of Americans’ constitutional rights and allowing roving wiretaps, secret searches and other breaches of personal privacy and security.

You certainly have the security of the nation at heart, of that I have no doubt, but I beg you to recognize that by supporting an Act of dubious constitutionality and the restriction of law-abiding Americans’ rights, you might be inadvertently bringing about the end goal of the terrorists: the destruction of the American society which you and I both value so greatly.

Thank you for your time,
YOUR NAME HERE

If you would like to write your Representative but are unsure who that is, you may quickly find that information here.

Healthcare.

24. March 2010

The Senate healthcare bill passed. Yesterday, President Obama signed it into law. Mark Levin and the AGs of several states are suing for various reasons (though the two are not filing jointly.)

Other than that, I have nothing to say. Anything I say now is probably something that one of the various internet/print/television pundits has already said many times over. The bill is bad. It’s unconstitutional, and none of the Democrats who voted for the bill care about that. In the immor(t)al words of Alcee Hastings, “There ain’t no rules here, we’re trying to accomplish something…all this talk about rules…when the deal goes down, we make ’em up as we go along.”

Hopefully the bill gets struck down by the Supreme Court. Though, I’m afraid that it will be too late, if the ruling does ever come. Government entitlements, once enacted, are almost impossible to repeal.

I would like to thank the 34 Democrats that voted no, for whichever reason, be it reelection campaigns or a real opposition to the bill. It was real’ nice of y’all.

I would also like to condemn Bart Stupak for selling out in the end. After all of the time he spent saying that he would not vote for the bill unless the wording was changed, he capitulated in the end for a useless document that did not achieve what he originally wanted. You’re a real stand-up guy, Bart. Way to stick to your principles in the face of adversity.

We’ll get through it somehow, though. The 2010 midterms are going to be a really fun thing to watch.

Why Must the Government Do It?

24. March 2010

“First, I propose that the government set up a study to find out the effects of outsourcing.”

I heard these words in a speech by a student in the University of Mississippi in my public policy class. As far as I can tell the speaker is a conservative, not that you could tell that by the content of this sentence. It seems that even the most conservative of students feel that when the problem is big, it’s time to turn to the public sector for the solution.

Be it a result of the government-contrilled public schooling in which most of today’s youth is raised or smply a dependence on goernment which permeates its culture, this disease is both widespread and deadly. If the future of this country isn’t weaned off of a default dependency on government, well, we’re in trouble.

It seems that the larger the problem is, the more extensive the role of government in the proposed solution. Your knee hurts? Go see the doctor. “Forty-seven million” uninsured? New government programs for everyone! Sepcifically, the speech from which the opening quote came was about the outsourcing of American jobs. The speaker expressed interest in having the government create a study to investigate the effects of outsourcing on the American economy. Immediately, I wondered why the government was charged with this task.

Is the government impartial? No. Its only real concern is the continuation of its existence, and as far as concerns go, that’s a pretty important one. One for which almost anything, including personal liberties and, hell, even Constitutions can be sacrificed.There is no length to which it will not go to preserve itself, and that includes the manipulation of data to appropriate government funds in a way it finds favorable. (Census, anyone?)

Is the government extraordinarily capable or efficient? Don’t make me laugh. The number of significant statistical and factual blunders committed by this Administration in the past few months is laughable. Remember the nonexistent congressional districts in which jobs were created by stimulus money? The near-constant revisions of jobs numbers and economic indicators? Trusting the government to get things right and get them done quickly is naïve.

Is the government, or has it ever been, better than private sector firms at providing services? One of the primary assumptions of this blog is that the answer to this question is almost always a resounding “no”.

So here’s how the original quote ought to read:

“First, I propose that an independent private-sector firm study the effects of outsourcing.”

I guarantee the private sector report is more accurate.