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An Excellent Metaphor for Government

Posted 02-03-2012 at 06:07 PM by Anenome

Originally Posted by dirtbag View Post
How about, before talking about any more taxes, the government has to get rid of waste, excess workers, redundancy, and abuse, and make do with what they've got, just like the rest of us.
What we need is a government that stops treating us like chickens in the roost, to be plucked and plundered, and more like chicks in the nest, taught to fly and then set free.

I adapted this metaphor from something I read in CS Lewis's "The Abolition of Man" where he used something similar in reference to the way schools teach children versus how they should teach children. Such a beautifully succinct and apt way to put it.

I spoke before about societal ossification. The US is ossified, resistant to change and refusing to adapt to the new realities. It can only end in some crisis which either wakes it up to the new reality or causes it to double-down on a failed policy.

It was fiscal policy that ruined the Romans. The Byzantine empire too failed for fiscal reasons, not having enough money to pay the army that installed the new ruler, leading to that army sacking the city :P They were never the same and fell to the Turks soon after.

It was fiscal problems that led to the end of the Soviet Union, when it realized its failed socialist economic model could not keep up with American capitalism and that it would always be militarily vulnerable and increasingly so under that failed model.

It is fiscal reasons that cause crisis now in North Korea, where starvation is the worst in the world due to their stubborn insistence on remaining socialist economically.

Government becomes addicted to wealth it legislates to itself from the people, treating them as the goose that lays the golden egg, to the point that some politicians have said tax money belongs to politicians, not the people.

Is it their money? Or is it in trust to them? After all, they did not earn it, they are there to steward it, with a fiduciary responsibility.

All of this is driven by the perverse incentives of government. And by this you can see why government always fails when it tries to do things:

- When a private company lives within its budget, it makes a profit. This allows it to expand, attracts investment capital, and the enterprise flourishes. The incentive on business is to be as efficient as possible in all things.

- When a government entity lives within its budget, it's deemed to have been given more money than it needed to accomplish its goals and has its budget reduced. The incentive on government is to spend your entire budget, and then some.

- If a company posts a loss continually, it eventually goes out of business and will be replaced by a better leadership team or another company.

- If a government entity posts a loss, meaning it spends more that its budget, it can lobby that its mission is much larger than its budget, and will usually be given a larger budget next year. This is why the post office lost like $9 billion last year >_>

If a business is failing, the realities of the market will force it to stop operating and give that capital to other entrpreneurs.

If a government entity is failing, will it be disbanded? No. There are almost no historical cases of such being done.

That's why the gov spent $1 trillion more this year than we paid in taxes.
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  1. Old Comment
    sai tyrus's Avatar
    Good post sir!
    Posted 02-17-2012 at 11:29 AM by sai tyrus sai tyrus is offline

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