Grading the gov't (was Re: G & J, in cahoots?)

From: Jeff Bone (
Date: Tue Mar 20 2001 - 15:11:52 PST

So, hey, let's look at the value of all that progressive taxing. What are the
results? When I invest in a company, I have certain expectations of its
performance. Why shouldn't I have similar expectations of performance with the
federal gov't, in whom I'm "investing" my tax dollars?

USDA: doing a pretty poor job, IMO.
Postal Service: can't even operate profitably. Why do we have this again, instead
of private concerns only?
FBI, BATF, DEA, Marshall Service, Secret Service: why so damned much redundancy?
FBI: here comes Big Brother! Why do we need national-scale law enforcement, again?
FCC: we've got a winner, folks! Thank these guys for the 20 year delay on HDTV.
FTC: can't even bust up the one predatory *global* monopoly we've got!
CIA: well, I dunno how well they're doing, give 'em the benefit of the doubt.
NSA: who? ;-)
D. of Edu.: well, I'd say we've got just a *sterling* educational system, wouldn't
DoE: rolling blackouts? Nuclear waste dumps as tourist attractions? Just what *do*
these guys do, anyway?
NIH, CDC, etc: no cure for cancer, no cure for AIDs... are these guys working?
DoD: well, we haven't been invaded lately.
NASA: why haven't we been to Mars yet? WTF's the deal with this Space Station
hocus, btw?
D. of Ag: do we really *need* this thing? Did we ever?
D. of Commerce: at least the NIST is fairly useful. Count this one a "bunt."
ARPA: we hit the jackpot, here. This has paid off in spades.
D. of Health / Human Services: no reason for this to exist except to employ social
work majors.
D. of Housing and Urban Development: it's a fucking local issue, for chrissakes!
D. of the Interior: okay, I'm okay with this one.
D. of Justice: well, the jury's out on this one...
D. of Labor: now, *what* exactly do these guys do again?
State Dept.: okay, no problem here.
D. of Transportation: I'm okay with the FAA, and somebody's got to keep up the IHS.
D. of Treasury: no problem here, except their weird excursion into law enforcement.
D. of Veteran Affairs: get rid of 'em, let the military branches handle it.
EPA: roll this into the Interior.
NEA, NEHumantities: what the hell is this? Why are we funding art?
Federal Acquisition Jumpstation: no shit, it's real. I have no idea.
NSF: another jackpot, ROI out the wazoo.
Peace Corps: disband immediately, don't even let 'em come home.
Smithsonian: okay, fine.
Social Security Administration: fucking kill it before it eats the whole budget.
US Agency for International Development: WTF? Roll this into the State Dept.
US Information Agency: Huh? I'm sure this isn't necessary.
US Institute of Peace: Again, huh? Kill this program. State + Defense cover this.

Across the board, I see nothing but waste, waste, waste. The feds get a big fat
fucking "F." If the fed were a corporation, they'd be facing incredible shareholder
lawsuits. Unfortunately, they aren't accountable. Yeah, yeah, we can vote our
politicians out of office, but the bureaucrats have very little churn. A fresh young
idealist shows up in DC and immediately gets the message hammered into his brain:
"don't fuck with my budget. In fact, make it bigger."

The bureaucrats make the Mafia look like a Rotary Club. The Sicilians may be
violent, but at least they're direct, have a clear motivation, and if you do business
their way you're always going to be just fine. Brooklyn's the safest part of NYC.

I want ROI. I want small, well-factored, local, interlocking systems with good
checks and balances and a kill switch. I want good interface / implementation
separation. Good separation of concerns. Instead, we've got a massive whore of a
system riddled with "spaghetti code" relationships, inefficient redundancies, waste
on an unheard-of scale, and outright unnecessary bullshit.

Thanks for spending my tax dollars so wisely, Mr. Big Gov't!

With love,

Somebody Who Paid Beau Coup Taxes Last Year

PS - this e-mail is specifically designed to trigger Carnivore. If you're out there,

One note on the progressive tax argument. I said:

> Okay, stay with me --- I'll be moving in a slightly circular fashion, but I
> promise there's a point. Most people --- even those *with* lots of money ---
> can't spend 8 figures in a year on goods and services. Most of the excess goes
> to investment. So let's say I buy a restaurant. Money goes in, that's a
> deduction. The restaurant starts generating profits. I can either pay taxes on
> that income, or I can sink it back into the business and grow, expand: I can
> either pay 39.6% to the gov't, or I can hire new employees; and in essence, in
> doing so, I'm paying $0.60 on the dollar for these new salaries, etc. In
> addition, I get tax breaks on that growth investment, etc.
> When you're worrying about buying goods and services for yourself, your tax
> breaks are limited; hence, the progressive system most penalizes folks whose
> assets and income are most tied up in furnishing their own needs in terms of
> personal / family goods and services. When you move it into business, there's
> all kinds of ways to grow your asset value without paying taxes: just grow
> aggressively and avoid taking profits to the bottom line.
> That's how it works.

Just to be clear, I'm not complaining about that --- the basic problem is that the
way all these interlocking tax laws are rigged, there's a minimum price to play.
You've got to have all your basic goods and services --- whatever those might be,
whatever you feel you want or need --- covered *first* and then have substantial
leftovers to put to work growing your asset value in a tax-advantaged way.

The unfairness here is the tax advantages afforded people beyond their own personal
"magic number." The rigged system and the insane complexity are a comedy of
compounded errors which interact to maintain or broaden the gap between the rich and
the not-so-rich. Thank you, progressivists. Whether this is by design or by intent
is a matter of opinion, and open for debate.

We MUST go to a flat tax, at a minimum. Better would be a flat rate,
across-the-board consumption tax. Gotta have it.


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