Politics: Midterm elections catch-all thread...

Bazza

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Re: 2018 midterm elections catch-all thread

Then you really don't understand the first thing about how government works.

Since I started my new job, I don't get to post as much as I once did. For security reasons, I don't have access to non-essential websites and I have to secure my mobile phone. But, I've posted about government waste a lot in the past. I have managed hundreds of government contracts. Almost all of them (except some very small GPC buys) contain massive waste. Hundred of millions of dollars of waste. Forecast that over everything the government buys, and realize the federal government is the world's largest buyer of goods and services. More waste in reality than anything Man has ever conceived.

You can't champion that and be credible on the subject.
I don't see the problem. It's not like we're in debt or anything....
 

Bodhisattva

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Re: 2018 midterm elections catch-all thread

well, you're obviously not very good at your job. step it up a notch.
Ha! This is perversely true in the bizzarro world of government. I would review a requirement for millions of dollars worth of stuff we didn't - or ever - need, and I would refuse to have my team do the buy. I would get in trouble and the action would be passed on to another team for them to process. They should just eliminate the part of the bureaucracy that confirms bona fide need and audits contracts. It's pointless.
 

Bodhisattva

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Re: 2018 midterm elections catch-all thread

Nah, I had it right. You only have a single refrain on this subject, and we've all heard it a thousand times.
What you've heard is a thousand first hand examples of how wasteful government is. And you apparently still don't get it. Your belief in the efficiency of government is as wrong as it can be. You don't understand government. You don't understand economics. You don't understand human nature. You don't appreciate the years of personal experience that run counter to your farcical ideas. You deny reality a thousand times.
 
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CharminTide

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Re: 2018 midterm elections catch-all thread

What you've heard is a thousand first hand examples of how wasteful government is. And you apparently still don't get it. Your belief in the efficiency of government is as wrong as it can be. You don't understand government. You don't understand economics. You don't understand human nature. You don't appreciate the years of personal experience that run counter to your farcical ideas. You deny reality a thousand times.
Ah yes. Only you have the answers, and all perspectives but yours are invalid.

lol

As I said, we've all heard your arrogance before. To correct your strawman, though, no one here is claiming (or has ever claimed?) that government is efficient, rather that it's better than the alternative in some areas. Your absolutism evidently blinds you to nuance.
 

CharminTide

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Re: 2018 midterm elections catch-all thread

Compared to you? Absolutely. I have academic and real world backgrounds on the subject. You have nothing but leftist ideology. And yes, you have regularly claimed government is efficient. LOL!
Cool, more condescension.

You're not the only one here who's worked for the government, and your opinion is just that: an opinion. As always when this topic comes up, no further dialogue with you will be productive.
 

TIDE-HSV

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Re: 2018 midterm elections catch-all thread

This has gotten so personal that suspensions will be forthcoming. I suggest all back off...
 

Bodhisattva

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Re: 2018 midterm elections catch-all thread

Anybody but this idiot. She knows absolutely nothing.
Reason Magazine has a piece on her that shows her knowledge game needs lots of work.

http://reason.com/blog/2018/07/17/alexandria-ocasio-cortez-unemployment

But Ocasio-Cortez's admission that she was "no expert on geopolitics" was much more satisfactory than her answer to a question about the unemployment rate, which she claimed was low merely "because everyone has two jobs."

This is wrong for two reasons. First, people working multiple jobs has no distorting effect on the unemployment rate, which is calculated by taking the number of unemployed people and dividing it by the number of people in the labor force. The raw number of jobs being worked by Americans has no bearing on these numbers.

Second, everyone does not have two jobs. As Bloomberg View's Noah Smith points out, only about 5 percent of workers are moonlighting. This rate has actually dropped slightly over the last three decades.

.....

Ocasio-Cortez blames profit-seeking "no-holds-barred capitalism" for the conditions in which people struggle to feed their kids. Hunger and poverty are indeed problems faced by millions of Americans—14 percent of U.S. households experience food insecurity. Under capitalism, though, world poverty has declined precipitously. Over the past few decades, the economic growth that global trade has brought to developing economies has helped lift a billion people out of poverty. Between 2001 and 2011, some 700 million people exited from extreme poverty worldwide.
 

chanson78

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Re: 2018 midterm elections catch-all thread

The biggest issue I have with the whole government is inept and terrible argument is that there seems to be some unfounded belief that there is a party that doesn’t want to grow government when they are in power.

To use government spending waste examples, from what I can only assume is a defense contracting environment, as a reason that any and all government is bad, seems disingenuous. If I am mistakenly appropriating your experience incorrectly, Bodhi, I apologize. However from my own experience, the wasteful spending in defense contracting seems a poor example of how all government is bad as the system seems fundamentally broken when you take lobbyists and the revolving door system into account.

(For those unfamiliar, the revolving door I’m referring to is government employees retiring, going to work for a contractor, then using their influence to win contracts for their new company.)

While I know lobbying around education and social services does exist, it is usually in the form of companies lobbying to be selected as the sole provider to better ensure they manage to get a larger slice of the pie. Think of this article

To equate the beneficiaries of lobbying and ineffective management of funding between defense contracting and social programs seems to completely ignore the resources that the primary beneficiaries are able to bring to bear to maintain and exploit the system. I get that you are decrying government waste in general, but it always seems to come out most ferverently when expansion of social programs are up for debate as to why it is obviously a terrible idea, economically of course.
 

Bodhisattva

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Re: 2018 midterm elections catch-all thread

The biggest issue I have with the whole government is inept and terrible argument is that there seems to be some unfounded belief that there is a party that doesn’t want to grow government when they are in power.......
I appreciate this post and I will be happy to clarify. It makes little difference to me which party is in charge. The bureaucracy persists; the urge to waste is in the DNA of government. Spending increases regardless of who is in power. Each new administrations just adds to the pile. That is why the Democrats/Republicans are good, while Republicans/Democrats are bad argument that is perpetual here causes me to laugh. When it comes to government spending, both parties are two big piles of crap. I'm not really interested in measuring which pile of crap is taller.

With most professions, if you haven't worked in it, it is unlikely one will understand the details of the job. Likewise, in a profession in which one has worked, you often assume the audience has a frame of reference and will understand the stories you tell about it. (When I was an investment banker, hardly anyone outside the profession understood what I did. Their frame of reference was the teller at the local commercial bank branch. I got tired of telling people that I worked on a bit higher level than counting out change all day. ;) ) I am now in the business of government acquisitions and have been for a decade. I've worked in programs managing all of their service and hardware/software contracts. I've also worked for contracting offices creating the actual contracts for various government agencies.

I work in DoD, but I have experience with dozens of government agencies across government. The way government buys goods and services is sickening. For example, the previous program where I worked rolled out a new payroll/accounting system. The cost was supposed to be about $500M and ended up costing close to $800M. Keep in mind this new system is supposed to be more efficient than existing systems .... and was massively inefficient. At the time I left I believe 47 other agencies across government switched to the new system. Every agency that adopted the new system also contracted with the vendor who created the system for onsite support. I managed these contracts, so my knowledge of them is first hand. Now people have to get trained up, so some onsite support is understandable - a few months maybe. Yet all these agencies had support for years. I heard back from many of the contractors that they were kept on to do the actual work (not training) in perpetuity. That was the case when I left, and will be for the foreseeable future because that support is now hard wired into their various budgets. Total waste of money.

I'm also aware first hand of dozens of "administrative support" contracts throughout the government. Long story short, much like the example above, contractors are hired to do the job of government employees. I'm not talking about the highly technical folk that do jobs beyond the skill level of most civil servants. I'm talking about a contractor whose job it is to do the basic functions of a bureaucrat, so the bureaucrat can basically do nothing. I've seen it first hand. I've seen dozens of contracts worth hundreds of millions of dollars. I've talked to my counterparts across government who've told me the exact same thing. Hundreds of such contracts. Thousands. I just talked to a contractor who is getting paid six figures to do basic administrative work so the civil servants, who also is getting paid six figures, can do anything else but their jobs. This contractor and his team are on a multi-year, multi-million dollar contract to do little more than filing and shredding. There are tons of contracts like this out there. These contracts are 100% waste.

In addition to the many wasteful service contracts, every agency buys hardware and software. In my first hand experience much of what is bought is unnecessary. Too much is bought. The wrong thing is bought. What is bought is obsolete. Maintenance lapses and heavy reinstatement fees are the result. Millions of dollars of waste at my program. Everyone in acquisition at every other agency I talked to at NCMA conferences had the same experience. Ridiculous amounts of waste.

And I haven't even touched how long it takes to buy even legitimate goods and services. Many months of man hours just to buy a printer. Etc. It's just the way government (barely) functions.

And all this is even before you add the corrupting influence of lobbyists to big government. Or how government programs encourage people to underachieve. And all the market distortions and unintended consequences.

So, that's why when someone maintains that the government is efficient, or maybe just a little bit inefficient, I feel compelled to set the record straight. Because, as I said at the beginning, if you don't work in a profession it is normal to be ignorant of the details, and it is easy to draw conclusions that are way off. All I can to is offer the truth about the way government functions. People either recognize it or not. For many, their allegiance to a political tribe is too much to overcome.
 
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CajunCrimson

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Re: 2018 midterm elections catch-all thread

You would think that people would see the flaws in socialism and giving the government too much power from The election of Trump

All it takes is one election of one person to grab ahold of this power and instantly render the majority of the population as nothing more than puppets

And finally.....I have a question

What's the difference in how Norway's Govt functions and Venezuela's?? Why has one collapsed and the other thrived ?
 

CharminTide

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Re: 2018 midterm elections catch-all thread

What's the difference in how Norway's Govt functions and Venezuela's?? Why has one collapsed and the other thrived ?
The most significant difference is that Norway is a democracy with true, fair elections, while Venezuela is a dictatorship.

One big issue with this discussion is that the political right has pejoratized the word "socialism." While it classically refers to nationalization of production, they've attributed it broadly to the welfare state in colloquial discourse, and employed it as a rhetorical boogeyman against opponents who simply want to expand the social state without nationalizing industry.
 

92tide

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Re: 2018 midterm elections catch-all thread

The most significant difference is that Norway is a democracy with true, fair elections, while Venezuela is a dictatorship.

One big issue with this discussion is that the political right has pejoratized the word "socialism." While it classically refers to nationalization of production, they've attributed it broadly to the welfare state in colloquial discourse, and employed it as a rhetorical boogeyman against opponents who simply want to expand the social state without nationalizing industry.
iow, "socialism" = "stuff i don't like"
 

CharminTide

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Re: 2018 midterm elections catch-all thread

iow, "socialism" = "stuff i don't like"
Basically. The Cold War generation has a Pavlovian response to that word, and it's served the GOP well in their political efforts.
 

CajunCrimson

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Re: 2018 midterm elections catch-all thread

The most significant difference is that Norway is a democracy with true, fair elections, while Venezuela is a dictatorship.

One big issue with this discussion is that the political right has pejoratized the word "socialism." While it classically refers to nationalization of production, they've attributed it broadly to the welfare state in colloquial discourse, and employed it as a rhetorical boogeyman against opponents who simply want to expand the social state without nationalizing industry.
https://www.usnews.com/opinion/articles/2016-06-06/socialism-is-devastating-venezuela-and-americans-dont-seem-to-notice

It's no secret that things are bad in Venezuela. Rolling blackouts are causing infant deaths in hospitals where backup generators have ceased to function; the country is on pace to hit 700 percent inflation; outside of active war zones, the murder rate in Caracas is the highest in the world.

For many Americans, it's a news story piped in from a faraway place. For me? It's my friends and family who are suffering at the hands of an increasingly powerful and paranoid dictatorial regime. As a kid growing up in Caracas, I remember the difficult decision my parents had to make when Hugo Chavez attempted his coup and took over shortly thereafter. My parents decided to leave behind our life in Venezuela and come to the United States – much like my mother's family fled Cuba in the 1960s when Fidel Castro took over. Though it was a hard choice, in hindsight, we were the lucky ones.

Those watching from around the world, particularly in the United States, seem hesitant to put a label on Venezuela's struggle. But for me and mine, it's clear what precipitated this crisis – and we don't share the hesitance to point it out. While extenuating circumstances like drought and oil prices have certainly worsened the situation, it's clear there's a larger force behind Venezuela's woes.

The force that is driving Venezuela into the ground is socialism.
Socialism assumes that government officials are more qualified than individuals to decide how much a person should earn, which products and services are necessary for that person to live and how much that person should have to pay for them. The government makes all of these decisions and more, but only after taking a huge piece of the pie for itself, leaving the remainder to ration among the majority who don't have political connections.

Socialism deprives individual choice and crushes ambition in pursuit of a uniform, unfulfilling and arbitrary definition of "equality." And it does all of this in the name of "the greater good."

But as we can see, absent individuals' motivation and the productivity necessary to sustain it, that standard of equality deteriorates until there are no resources left to redistribute.
A Venezuelan perspective on Socialism...

Would you trust our Government to determine what "the greater good" is?
 

92tide

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Re: 2018 midterm elections catch-all thread

Basically. The Cold War generation has a Pavlovian response to that word, and it's served the GOP well in their political efforts.
and this has been re-inforced by 30 years of talk radio telling them how awesome they are and how bad those people are.
 

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