Diatribes - Computer, Economic & Political

This blog is really just for me. If you find something interesting on it, leave me a comment. If you disagree with something, let me know what and why. In this blog I am just putting some of my thoughts for computers, the economy, politics, and other topics in writing.

03 February 2010

Only Salesman Think Real Issues are Simple

I read a spectacularly bad email a while back.  Let me excerpt it here:

To President Obama and all 535 voting members of the Legislature, It is now official you are ALL corrupt morons:
·         The U.S. Post Service was established in 1775 You have had 234 years to get it right and it is broke. 
·         Social Security was established in 1935. You have had 74 years to get it right and it is broke.  
·         Fannie Mae was established in 1938. You have had 71 years to get it right and it is broke.
·         War on Poverty started in 1964. You have had 45 years to get it right; $1 trillion of our money is confiscated each year and transferred to "the poor" and they only want more. 
·         Medicare and Medicaid were established in 1965. You have had 44 years to get it right and they are broke. 
Freddie Mac was established in 1970. You have had 39 years to get it right and it is broke. 
·         The Department of Energy was created in 1977 to lessen our dependence on foreign oil. It has ballooned to 16,000 employees with a budget of $24 billion a year and we import more oil than ever before. You had 32 years to get it right and it is an abysmal failure.
·         You have FAILED in every "government service" you have shoved down our throats while overspending our tax dollars AND YOU WANT AMERICANS TO BELIEVE YOU CAN BE TRUSTED WITH A GOVERNMENT-RUN HEALTH CARE SYSTEM?? 
Right, we're living in a broken state, nothing the federal government has touched ever works, and we'd be better off becoming like other countries which have fewer national services - like africa or south east asia.  The federal government offering more services is a bad thing, it would drive us to becoming like the disasters in Canada or Europe. 

The author is clearly delusional.  I'm not going to take his points apart one by one, but nearly all of them are exaggerated to the point of falsity.  Many of these problems listed have been made better by the feds rather than worse.  Others are simply new problems which every business is dealing with (I'll note, the post office is actually exceptionally efficient & cheap).  There are good reasons to oppose government action, but he hasn't pointed to a single real reason. 

The authors argument is this: "X is not working the way I want, therefore whoever is in charge of X now must be incompetent or malicious" (or "corrupt morons").  This is such a simplification of X that it borders on an ad hominem attack. 

Certainly track records of success or failure matter, but you can't look at them in isolation.  Look at how silly it gets:  every person who has ever lived has died within about a hundred years, and humans have been around hundreds of thousands of years, so whoever/whatever made them must be stupid.  Or maybe since every computer I've had has failed, the makers must all be "corrupt morons." 

I hate it when people pretend complicated issues one-sided and simple.  You know why we have lousy health care per dollar?  Because it is hard!  If it was as simple as throwing it all to the government or private industry, we'd have done it a long time ago.  Everyone who believes a real issue is simple must be stupid or selling something.


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