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Diamond, Jim Floor
#11
ibofightback Wrote:And I think that's focusing on the wrong thing. Size and efficiency and effectiveness are not necessarily inversely correlated. Indeed in the free market it's generally expected that size can bring increases in efficiency. In my view their are natural monopolies that government's should be able to do better than the private sector, and "size" should be able to make it more efficient and effective. What you should be looking for in a government is effective and efficient use of taxpayers money, whether it's "big" government or "small" government isn't the issue. It's like we humans - you want to be fit and healthy not fat and bloated, doesn't matter if your 5ft tall or 7ft tall, 150 pounds or 300 pounds. It's not size per se that's the problem.


I think we're closer than not in perspective, overall.

Basically, I am just suggesting that if elected officials aren't "producing" the results "we" say we want to see, I wouldn't be surprised to find a correlation in our own lives (the parts we have the most individual control over) of not producing results we say we'd like to see...and that seems like a reasonable relationship.

That it may not be "their" fault so much as it is our own, born out of our own shortcomings, perspectives, and blind-spots.

Not necessarily a "bad" thing, just an observed relationship, and we "pick" officials, not the other way around...

As far as government size, it is pretty simple for me.

I am a firm believer that freedom, not "fairness," is the priority.

To that end, the more freedom I have to earn and then spend to whatever degree I want, and for whatever I want, the better.

I agree 100% there are monopoly "situations" that make sense; infrastructure like utilities comes to my mind.

But, a government that exceeds its responsibility for spending my money on those things that should be the government charter by forcing me to spend my money on things that should NOT be is too big; efficiencies, "effectiveness", or measurable size are beside the point.

If I expect the freedom to smoke, or drink, or practice unsafe sex, or buy a fast car, drive without a helmet, not wear my seatbelt, eat McDonald's, make boat-loads of money (or not), become a vegetarian, marry a man, avoid bars, drive too slow, drive too fast, spend all my money, horde all my money, etc., etc., etc.,...and here's the kicker...accept responsibility for the consequences, good or bad, for my choices, then I also expect the government never gets so big that it forces me to pay for the consequences of OTHER people's choices, because they had as much freedom to choose as did I.

We are WAY past that point, and that is too big.
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#12
Wearyeyed Wrote:I also expect the government never gets so big that it forces me to pay for the consequences of OTHER people's choices, because they had as much freedom to choose as did I.


Hmmm ... is that possible at all in a government representing more than one person? As soon as there is one person that differs in opinion to the others, does that not virtually guarantee someone is "paying" for others peoples choices?

I suspect the only form of government that would fit your criteria is either (a) no government at all or (b) government for wearyeyed and nobody else.

Quote:We are WAY past that point, and that is too big.

But that could happen with a size of 1 politician and a budget of $10 - nothing to do with size
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#13
ibofightback Wrote:Hmmm ... is that possible at all in a government representing more than one person? As soon as there is one person that differs in opinion to the others, does that not virtually guarantee someone is "paying" for others peoples choices?

I suspect the only form of government that would fit your criteria is either (a) no government at all or (b) government for wearyeyed and nobody else.


Too funny.

You are correct that it is not possible for a government "representing" more than one person.

They can serve the necessities of a population (like military, infrastructure, and a few other concerns) without "representing" the interests of any "one-to-many persons," per se.

Too convoluted a topic for this venue, so I yield.

You know how easy it is to take one or two poorly chosen words and begin a typewritten debate for days which completely misses the over-arching point.

We could spend weeks just debating what constitutes "paying for other peoples' consequences of choice." Wink

ibofightback Wrote:But that could happen with a size of 1 politician and a budget of $10 - nothing to do with size


Re-read my posts, sir.

If it's not clear, I mean "big" as a condition of influence or control that exceeds the necessary charter of government, NOT measurable "size."

And we could spend weeks debating what are "necessary" charters of government....
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#14
I suggest your arguing for minimal influence of government on your decision making, rather than size per se, but that you're not really able to define how that could actually create a functioning government where such influence was minimised to the satisfaction of the entire population.

What I'm arguing for is efficient and effective government, and that can be defined pretty much the same way as it is for business - getting the best short-term AND long-term results for your shareholders - in this case the shareholders being the citizens of your country. Of course then the debate may be what results you want. I think for example that a healthy population is a good result, and while I'm also for minimizing governmental influence, it's pretty clear from studying solutions worldwide that the most effective and efficient way to do that is through a wide-catching government run health service, supplemented by private services for those who want them. It may be that this new setup is even more effective at that, but the Massachusetts example doesn't seem to back that up. What's abundantly clear though is that the (pre Obamacare) US system is woefully ineffective and woefully inefficient -"bigger" government seems to do that task better.

Note I think this kind of thing also varies over time. For example I think telecommunications was once a natural government monopoly, today it is not - however it may still be for infrastructure (ie laying fiber cable). Once upon a time I think nationalised banks were a sensible natural monopoly, but in today's world it's not - though a strong national bank may be a smart policy tool, in competition with private banking.
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#15
The "big" argument is a lost cause; any government regardless of measurable size is too "big" when they can, and do, mandate policies that force me to participate in functions that should not be mandated by the government in the first place.

Perhaps it's just semantics, or colloquial usage of words, but it's not an essential point for debate.

The monopoly argument is pretty clear: when it doesn't make practical sense to duplicate resources, like having 17 different electrical feeds for 17 different electrical companies, monopolies are a good thing.

Did you know our government mandates some companies who have invested billions of dollars in infrastructure to sell to "re-sellers" the right to sell the same services at discounted retail to consumers under the guise of "competition?"

If you have to do that kind of thing, government monopoly concepts are a much more elegant solution, and much more in-line with the spirit of our market...moving on...

Government should be limited to basic infrastructure, policies that provide opportunity and freedom of choice (yes, even to be poor, or unhealthy, or unsuccessful...), security of the country, protection of individuals where freely-made choices between two parties necessarily prevent a third party from having the freedom to choose to participate or not, the collection of taxes for the resources to carry out these charters, and that's about it.

Not healthcare and not retirement, as examples, IMO.

These and almost any other concern should be left to individuals, families, charitable organizations, or free-market capitalism.

At least I can't think of any off the top of my head that don't have a strong argument that favors less government even if, as you might argue, people have a tendency to not do "what they should."

That's a shame, but they shouldn't be legislated to (for that is what happens...those who ARE doing what they should would do so regardless of government mandates, and in some cases, do LESS where the government DOES mandate participation), as long as there are private solutions to the problems people create by not doing what they should....

Anyway, I am off this topic, because I am a bit passionate about personal responsibility, as you know, and I could waste MASSIVE productive time expressing my fancy...

Cheers!
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#16
Interesting, you should hold that a monopoly for some services, like electricity is a good thing, when there is no evidence that competition wouldn't lower the cost; in fact John Stossel has a number of stories you can find on You Tube supporting privatizing monopolies.

Insurance costs are high precisely because government has created a monopoly situation by not allowing outside the state insurance and restricting the number of competitors.

More interesting, in California, the giant power supplier PG&E has mounted a campaign to have voters reject the upcoming ballot to have local governments going into the power business to compete against them. No theory here. Fact.
Now, why do you suppose local governments want to be in the power-supplying business?
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