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Subject: Smaller Government? How? rss

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Andre
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https://www.washingtonpost.com/news/wonk/wp/2017/09/12/lawre...

Intersting article, that implies government will likely grow larger, based on the status of four indicators as stated in the article.

So my question to conservatives (or anyone else for that matter) that espouse "less government", what is your prescription on how to get there, given the fact that the trend does not seem to be favorable to your desires?
 
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Dwayne Hendrickson
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First off, the article states that it is the function of the government to 'ameliorate inequality'. Honestly, I had to look up the definition of ameliorate. I assume he is speaking of financial inequality (not sure if income, or wealth or what) but I have never thought it was the job of the Federal Government to insure that there was not financial inequality, beyond making sure people's personal and property rights were insured and that folks had equal access to opportunities (not equal outcomes from taking those opportunities)

Next, I work for the Feds, in a part that is bloated, slow to change and horribly inefficient (narrows it down somewhat, eh?). I have been fighting for 20 years to get people to take advantage of features in software we use in order to streamline processes and procedures. The things I hear:
* I'll be out of here in a few years so I don't care
* We don't have time to change how we do things to make it easier for the people coming up behind us.
* We aren't sure how this process works so I don't dare change it.

The only hope I see, is getting to the new folks that I have to train and teach THEM to constantly look for ways to save time and money and then go ahead and DO IT even if they are told not to. Why? Hell, once it's in place, everyone will be to damn scared to change it (that is, IF they notice it years later). We need a mindset within the government to innovate, try to do things smarter and cheaper, and keep learning and changing. If we can do automate more things, we can do it with fewer people and save money.

Over regulation can always be a killer (sometimes literally), see this article regarding truck drivers and the rules hell thay have to endure

http://thefederalist.com/2017/09/13/truck-driver-overregulat...

So reducing over regulation can usually lead to a smaller government.
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okiedokie wrote:
First off, the article states that it is the function of the government to 'ameliorate inequality'. Honestly, I had to look up the definition of ameliorate. I assume he is speaking of financial inequality (not sure if income, or wealth or what) but I have never thought it was the job of the Federal Government to insure that there was not financial inequality, beyond making sure people's personal and property rights were insured and that folks had equal access to opportunities (not equal outcomes from taking those opportunities)

Next, I work for the Feds, in a part that is bloated, slow to change and horribly inefficient (narrows it down somewhat, eh?). I have been fighting for 20 years to get people to take advantage of features in software we use in order to streamline processes and procedures. The things I hear:
* I'll be out of here in a few years so I don't care
* We don't have time to change how we do things to make it easier for the people coming up behind us.
* We aren't sure how this process works so I don't dare change it.

The only hope I see, is getting to the new folks that I have to train and teach THEM to constantly look for ways to save time and money and then go ahead and DO IT even if they are told not to. Why? Hell, once it's in place, everyone will be to damn scared to change it (that is, IF they notice it years later). We need a mindset within the government to innovate, try to do things smarter and cheaper, and keep learning and changing. If we can do automate more things, we can do it with fewer people and save money.

Over regulation can always be a killer (sometimes literally), see this article regarding truck drivers and the rules hell thay have to endure

http://thefederalist.com/2017/09/13/truck-driver-overregulat...

So reducing over regulation can usually lead to a smaller government.


Dwayne, you and I differ philosophically I suspect - but your points about IT are pretty much spot on. And about change generally.

But I'll also point out (not to Dwayne, this is a general point) that resistance to change is not unique to government.

Also remember, Dilbert is set in the private sector!
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Shawn Fox
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okiedokie wrote:
Next, I work for the Feds, in a part that is bloated, slow to change and horribly inefficient (narrows it down somewhat, eh?).

Anyone who believes that bloat, inefficiency, stupid policies, unqualified management, etc is limited to government has never worked for a large corporation. Having worked in the technology sales industry I can tell you with 100% certainty that the process the government goes through to buy technology is better than the typical corporation and generally leads to better choices. It isn't perfect, but nothing in this world is.

Anyway, my point here is that large corporations get large initially because they have great products but they stay large by creating economic moats that prevent competition. Worker efficiency rarely factors into either end of that equation, outside of the people at the bottom of the worker pyramid (the grunts who do the actual work), where efficiency is generally better because those people either produce or get fired. Once you get into upper and middle management, politics plays a larger role in promotions than being good at your job does.
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Robert Stuart
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okiedokie wrote:
First off, the article states that it is the function of the government to 'ameliorate inequality'. Honestly, I had to look up the definition of ameliorate. I assume he is speaking of financial inequality (not sure if income, or wealth or what) but I have never thought it was the job of the Federal Government to insure that there was not financial inequality, beyond making sure people's personal and property rights were insured and that folks had equal access to opportunities (not equal outcomes from taking those opportunities).

Well I, for one, see it as one of the legitimate functions of government. That is, 'inordinate' inequality: inequality per se is a feature of human diversity, and is and always will be an intrinsic feature of human society. But inordinate, generational inequality (in my view) arises from exploitation and abuse, and it's government's job to correct that.

Historically, the attempts of government to ameliorate inordinate inequality, in the United States, have resulted in increased prosperity. And, in fact, the creation & rise of the middle class, in the middle decades of the twentieth century, were due to judicious government action.

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Robert Stuart
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sfox wrote:
okiedokie wrote:
Next, I work for the Feds, in a part that is bloated, slow to change and horribly inefficient (narrows it down somewhat, eh?).

Anyone who believes that bloat, inefficiency, stupid policies, unqualified management, etc is limited to government has never worked for a large corporation. Having worked in the technology sales industry I can tell you with 100% certainty that the process the government goes through to buy technology is better than the typical corporation and generally leads to better choices. It isn't perfect, but nothing in this world is.

Anyway, my point here is that large corporations get large initially because they have great products but they stay large by creating economic moats that prevent competition. Worker efficiency rarely factors into either end of that equation, outside of the people at the bottom of the worker pyramid (the grunts who do the actual work), where efficiency is generally better because those people either produce or get fired. Once you get into upper and middle management, politics plays a larger role in promotions than being good at your job does.

That's been my experience, as well. We used to have a saying in the company where I worked: "Make a $50,000 mistake, and you'll get fired. Make a $5,000,000 mistake, and you'll get promoted." And, for about half of the managing directors: "If we were to keep paying their salaries to work full time for our competitors, our business would boom even as our competitors' would suffer."
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Bill Cook
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It's easy to say "be more efficient" but it's really hard to get there. This isn't a government thing... much of corporate America is just as bad.

But even if you get the existing machinery to be somewhat more efficient, you aren't doing that much to reduce the size of government.

The government is big because people want the government to do lots of things. Until you somehow get people to want less from the government, it's just going to grow.
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Dwayne Hendrickson
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I've worked in the private sector as well and it is much worse in the Feds. I can usually spot the difference between a Fed lifer and someone that spent time in the private sector.

In the private sector it is the job of middle management to lie constantly. They lie to their superiors, telling them everything is going great and they lie to their underlings, telling them everything is just terrible enough to prevent anyone from egtting a raise.

At the Federal level I was trying to get something accomplished and this one guy kept getting in my way. I finally asked if he would join ISIS because I felt that then he would have less of an interest in preventing me from getting my work done.
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Carl Parsons
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I've done a lot of contract work for all levels of government from municipal level to federal. I've seen no correlation between the size of the government entity and the effectiveness of that body. Some of the best run projects have been at the federal level and some of the worst were at the smallest levels. I've found that it's the actual people you work with that makes the difference and not necessarily the organization. So, from my experience, claims that everything the government does is worse than if it were done by non-government entities are simply untrue. This also applies to claims that a smaller government is better. I simply haven't found that to be the case.
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J.D. Hall
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okiedokie wrote:
In the private sector it is the job of middle management to lie constantly. They lie to their superiors, telling them everything is going great and they lie to their underlings, telling them everything is just terrible enough to prevent anyone from egtting a raise.

Word. Been there, done that.

It's EASY to create a smaller government. Food and Drug Administration? Chop it. Department of Transportation? Pave it over. Homeland Security? Who needs it? Departments of Education, Energy, HHS? Can 'em. EPA? Easy pickins'.

See, it's simple: just trash every federal agency except Defense (and maybe Commerce, but Wall Street HATES Commerce, so nah...), get rid of every "entitlement" program (fuck the senior citizens, fuck the poor kids), and viola! Small government.

It's a recipe for disaster, but hey, it's the Republican Party's platform.

What EVERY government needs is to be more efficient. There are massive benefits to streamlining policies and procedures, to reducing the number of AGENCIES that issue business regulations, and taking advantage of modern technology to free up workers to be out in the field inspecting food quality or water quality, etc. Yet these kinds of moves don't garner big headlines and don't get Congress people re-elected, so, yeah, screw that noise.

If we had a Congress with balls, we might get somewhere.
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What Dwayne said.

Also legalize drugs. That should take care of a bunch of useless government jobs.
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"Small gov't" to me have always meant that gov't should have a well defined scope. If there isn't a good answer why the gov't is involved, they shouldn't be. "Big gov't" is embodied by purely arbitrary regulations and their enforcement. Those regulations which make sense and serve a genuine purpose do not violate the principle of small gov't.

So take welfare as an example. It's cheaper and more efficient to give people a minimum income without checking they're scamming because catching the scammers costs more than it saves. Keeping non-violent people in jail violates the principle of small gov't. Sure, it's also about efficiency wherever possible but that's not really the main issue.
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whac3 wrote:
"Small gov't" to me have always meant that gov't should have a well defined scope. If there isn't a good answer why the gov't is involved, they shouldn't be. "Big gov't" is embodied by purely arbitrary regulations and their enforcement. Those regulations which make sense and serve a genuine purpose do not violate the principle of small gov't.


But once you've been trained to look to government for every solution, then there is ALWAYS a good answer for why government should be involved. Hence... the OP.
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Carl Parsons
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GameCrossing wrote:
whac3 wrote:
"Small gov't" to me have always meant that gov't should have a well defined scope. If there isn't a good answer why the gov't is involved, they shouldn't be. "Big gov't" is embodied by purely arbitrary regulations and their enforcement. Those regulations which make sense and serve a genuine purpose do not violate the principle of small gov't.


But once you've been trained to look to government for every solution, then there is ALWAYS a good answer for why government should be involved. Hence... the OP.


regulations which make sense and serve a genuine purpose =\= government for every solution
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GameCrossing wrote:
whac3 wrote:
"Small gov't" to me have always meant that gov't should have a well defined scope. If there isn't a good answer why the gov't is involved, they shouldn't be. "Big gov't" is embodied by purely arbitrary regulations and their enforcement. Those regulations which make sense and serve a genuine purpose do not violate the principle of small gov't.


But once you've been trained to look to government for every solution, then there is ALWAYS a good answer for why government should be involved. Hence... the OP.


"There outta be a law!"
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batman wrote:
GameCrossing wrote:
whac3 wrote:
"Small gov't" to me have always meant that gov't should have a well defined scope. If there isn't a good answer why the gov't is involved, they shouldn't be. "Big gov't" is embodied by purely arbitrary regulations and their enforcement. Those regulations which make sense and serve a genuine purpose do not violate the principle of small gov't.


But once you've been trained to look to government for every solution, then there is ALWAYS a good answer for why government should be involved. Hence... the OP.


regulations which make sense and serve a genuine purpose =\= government for every solution


And everything could use a little regulating, couldn't it? I mean, just a little....
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Sue_G wrote:
GameCrossing wrote:
whac3 wrote:
"Small gov't" to me have always meant that gov't should have a well defined scope. If there isn't a good answer why the gov't is involved, they shouldn't be. "Big gov't" is embodied by purely arbitrary regulations and their enforcement. Those regulations which make sense and serve a genuine purpose do not violate the principle of small gov't.


But once you've been trained to look to government for every solution, then there is ALWAYS a good answer for why government should be involved. Hence... the OP.


"There outta be a law!"


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GameCrossing wrote:
batman wrote:
GameCrossing wrote:
whac3 wrote:
"Small gov't" to me have always meant that gov't should have a well defined scope. If there isn't a good answer why the gov't is involved, they shouldn't be. "Big gov't" is embodied by purely arbitrary regulations and their enforcement. Those regulations which make sense and serve a genuine purpose do not violate the principle of small gov't.


But once you've been trained to look to government for every solution, then there is ALWAYS a good answer for why government should be involved. Hence... the OP.


regulations which make sense and serve a genuine purpose =\= government for every solution


And everything could use a little regulating, couldn't it? I mean, just a little....


No, that's a strawman. I'm sure, for every situation, you could find someone that thinks it should be regulated in some way, but that's different than saying there are people who think everything should be regulated. I get that this could lead to over regulation, and probably has, but the answer isn't "no regulations at all" it should be "sensible and effective regulations only". The solution should involve a revisit of the regulations to see if they are still serving their purpose and then to see if they have unintended consequences.

For instance, the truck driving regulations. It makes sense to me why these were implemented. They were created to make sure truck drivers were operating in a safe manner. I have no doubt that it has succeeded at that. I also see that it has caused some unintended consequences. Some people read that article and say, this is horrible, these regulations need to go. I see that article and I see that those regulations aren't necessarily bad, they just need a tweek or two. Who's to say that the problems the regulations solved don't vastly outnumber the problems they created. That maybe they've saved 100 lives from the unsafe driving they stopped and have lost 10 from the unsafe driving it has created.

That's exactly the kind of regulation that needs to be revisited and modified to conform to the situation. If those were to just be taken away we might be going back to what was a much more dangerous situation before the regulations. These things have to be evaluated not eviscerated.
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batman wrote:
GameCrossing wrote:
batman wrote:
GameCrossing wrote:
whac3 wrote:
"Small gov't" to me have always meant that gov't should have a well defined scope. If there isn't a good answer why the gov't is involved, they shouldn't be. "Big gov't" is embodied by purely arbitrary regulations and their enforcement. Those regulations which make sense and serve a genuine purpose do not violate the principle of small gov't.


But once you've been trained to look to government for every solution, then there is ALWAYS a good answer for why government should be involved. Hence... the OP.


regulations which make sense and serve a genuine purpose =\= government for every solution


And everything could use a little regulating, couldn't it? I mean, just a little....


No, that's a strawman. I'm sure, for every situation, you could find someone that thinks it should be regulated in some way, but that's different than saying there are people who think everything should be regulated. I get that this could lead to over regulation, and probably has, but the answer isn't "no regulations at all" it should be "sensible and effective regulations only". The solution should involve a revisit of the regulations to see if they are still serving their purpose and then to see if they have unintended consequences.

For instance, the truck driving regulations. It makes sense to me why these were implemented. They were created to make sure truck drivers were operating in a safe manner. I have no doubt that it has succeeded at that. I also see that it has caused some unintended consequences. Some people read that article and say, this is horrible, these regulations need to go. I see that article and I see that those regulations aren't necessarily bad, they just need a tweek or two. Who's to say that the problems the regulations solved don't vastly outnumber the problems they created. That maybe they've saved 100 lives from the unsafe driving they stopped and have lost 10 from the unsafe driving it has created.

That's exactly the kind of regulation that needs to be revisited and modified to conform to the situation. If those were to just be taken away we might be going back to what was a much more dangerous situation before the regulations. These things have to be evaluated not eviscerated.


And I would agree with that. But we are in a thread talking about the ever-expanding government. And from what I've seen, it would take a lot more than a sensible amount of sensible regulations to make that happen.

The bureaucracy will expand to meet the needs of the expanding bureaucracy.
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GameCrossing wrote:
Sue_G wrote:
GameCrossing wrote:
whac3 wrote:
"Small gov't" to me have always meant that gov't should have a well defined scope. If there isn't a good answer why the gov't is involved, they shouldn't be. "Big gov't" is embodied by purely arbitrary regulations and their enforcement. Those regulations which make sense and serve a genuine purpose do not violate the principle of small gov't.


But once you've been trained to look to government for every solution, then there is ALWAYS a good answer for why government should be involved. Hence... the OP.


"There outta be a law!"




I'm trying to imagine the modern version of that Schoolhouse Rock song with Mitch McConnell's pinched, chinless face on the bill.

I'm just a bill.
Yes, I'm only a bill.
And I'm sitting here on Capitol Hill.
Well, it's a long, long journey
To the capital city.
It's a long, long wait
While I'm sitting in committee,
But I know I'll be a law someday
At least I hope and pray that I will,
But today I am still just a bill.
 
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GameCrossing wrote:
whac3 wrote:
"Small gov't" to me have always meant that gov't should have a well defined scope. If there isn't a good answer why the gov't is involved, they shouldn't be. "Big gov't" is embodied by purely arbitrary regulations and their enforcement. Those regulations which make sense and serve a genuine purpose do not violate the principle of small gov't.


But once you've been trained to look to government for every solution, then there is ALWAYS a good answer for why government should be involved. Hence... the OP.

Looking for gov't to solve most let alone every problem is flatly absurd. Gov't can only solve what it is equipped to solve-- things requiring lots of time, money, and supervision along with the will and consent of the people.
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Quote:

So my question to conservatives (or anyone else for that matter) that espouse "less government", what is your prescription on how to get there, given the fact that the trend does not seem to be favorable to your desires?

Call up the bureaucrats and tell them...
 
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GameCrossing wrote:
whac3 wrote:
"Small gov't" to me have always meant that gov't should have a well defined scope. If there isn't a good answer why the gov't is involved, they shouldn't be. "Big gov't" is embodied by purely arbitrary regulations and their enforcement. Those regulations which make sense and serve a genuine purpose do not violate the principle of small gov't.


But once you've been trained to look to government for every solution, then there is ALWAYS a good answer for why government should be involved. Hence... the OP.

Once you've been trained to look to your religion for every solution... same problem.
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sfox wrote:
GameCrossing wrote:
whac3 wrote:
"Small gov't" to me have always meant that gov't should have a well defined scope. If there isn't a good answer why the gov't is involved, they shouldn't be. "Big gov't" is embodied by purely arbitrary regulations and their enforcement. Those regulations which make sense and serve a genuine purpose do not violate the principle of small gov't.


But once you've been trained to look to government for every solution, then there is ALWAYS a good answer for why government should be involved. Hence... the OP.

Once you've been trained to look to your religion for every solution... same problem.


Except God says that's okay.
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