Saturday, November 20, 2010

TSA - Terribly Stupid Agency

The TSA is developing a reputation as the Terribly Stupid Agency (Touching Sensitive Areas, etc). It is wasting billions on expensive, time consuming, annoying, invasive, and ineffective security measures that assume everyone is a terrorist when almost no one is. The terrorists have won if we all suspect everyone and each other.

Where is the check and balance on this 1984ish bureaucracy? Some rational and intelligent people need to step in and reduce the waste in this prime example of out-of-control government spending. These dollars could be greatly reduced and more effectively spent.

"They who can give up essential liberty to obtain a little temporary safety, deserve neither liberty nor safety." - Benjamin Franklin

Sunday, November 07, 2010

Rational Choices

Too many folks rely on typical stereotypes and want to pigeonhole people:
- borrow and spend warmongering conservative Republicans
- tax and spend pacifist liberal Democrats

In the most recent election I believe much of the electorate was fooled by those playing to emotions and fears rather than making rational choices about what we really want for the US. We must get beyond stereotypes and knee jerks to figure out how to make our lives and our government better. Recognizing the real pros and cons of what is accomplished or not. Fear is a great motivator but it is a very poor decision maker. And it takes real work to make improvements. I voted for people who have shown they can work hard with the system to make a change -- and a change in the direction I want our country to go.

Regarding Obama, he has not accomplished as much as he or I had hoped, but nonetheless in the last 2 years he and the Democrats did more to move the United States forward than Bush and the Republicans did in the previous 8.

Obama & the Democrats:
1) Restored worldwide respect for the US as a place of reason and balance (Bush & the Republicans trashed our reputation)
2) Made significant progress on reforming Health Care and making it cover more people in a reasonably efficient and affordable manner (Bush and the Republicans did nothing in this space)
3) Are working to get us out of wastefully expensive and destructive wars overseas (Bush and the Republicans caused us to overspend in this area to the tune of trillions of dollars).
4) Saved our country and the rest of the world from a likely second Great Depression. (Bush and the Republicans lead us into that economic mess -- over deregulation can be dangerous, government is an important check and balance on capitalism)

These are HUGE!

#1 allows us to have more credibility and work diplomatically with other countries
#2 greatly improves how the US manages valuable human resources, helping people be productive and healthy rather than sick and a drain on society
#3 saves us big bucks, lots of lives, and helps with #1
#4 saved all of us.

We have a phenomenally good government overall in the US. Just compare the totality of what our government does for us and how efficiently it does it compared to other countries in the world. Think about everything you do each day and how our government is involved in making it possible and reasonably safe:
- we have a military that is well managed, does not attack our citizens, and actively keeps foreign bad guys at bay
- we have police and fire fighters keeping us safe at home
- we have a legal system that generally works well -- courts, judges, laws, etc
- when you drive down the road, you have a well paved road to drive on, your car has to meet certain safety standards, you can breath the air behind your car, people stop at stoplights and let you thru, etc.
- when we walk down the street we generally have a sidewalk on which to walk and we generally are not afraid of getting mugged
- we all have safe water to drink from our faucets (how many countries in the world have this?)
- we have generally safe food available to us all in abundance
- everyone in the US has free public education available to them
- we have vast stores of knowledge available to all for free -- notably our public library system
- we have building codes that keep us safe from fire, collapse, earthquakes, etc.
- we have freedom of the press and speech so we can speak, be heard, and learn about what is happening from many sources that serve to check and balance each other
- we have freedom of religion so we can practice our own beliefs without fear of retribution from government
- and much, much more...

Our government has a positive impact on just about everything that you or I do. All of the above requires significant money to accomplish.

If some other country is doing a better job overall for its citizens than the US, please name it and how.

Sure there are things that we can improve, but don't let the exceptions outweigh the vast number of things that work well and most of us take for granted. Blindly cutting taxes and cutting government spending will hurt us. We need a well funded government for the US to continue to succeed and protect all of us.

Without our national, state, county, and city governments the United States would not be the great nation we are today. Be very careful about throwing things out, because you may be throwing the baby (our future) out with the bath water. Respect our government and work with our established systems to effect change because these are the systems that help our society and government run reliably.

Let's engage in reasoned dialog so we can work together and make improvements as a team. We are one big team that needs to cooperate and compromise to succeed in a dangerous and challenging world. We all cannot have it just our way. United we stand, divided we fall.

Thanks for reading.