The Random Comic Strip

The Random Comic Strip

Words to live by...

"How beautiful it is to do nothing, and to rest afterward."

[Spanish Proverb]

Ius luxuriae publice datum est

(The right to looseness has been officially given)

"Everyone carries a part of society on his shoulders," wrote Ludwig von Mises, "no one is relieved of his share of responsibility by others. And no one can find a safe way for himself if society is sweeping towards destruction. Therefore everyone, in his own interest, must thrust himself vigorously into the intellectual battle."

Apparently, the crossword puzzle that disappeared from the blog, came back.

Monday, February 15, 2016

This is Not Political

... though it might read that way. I want to talk about how we view the role of government in the US. It's important to me. Personally, I want government to leave us alone. Not completely, that would be more libertarian than I am willing to accept. I think the private sector does many things well and capitalism, while imperfect, demands more efficiency from private industry than government ever would. But there are some things best left to government... like the military, infrastructure (water, sewage, and zoning).

As you know, I spent some time in the US Navy and witnessed huge amounts of waste; from "float tests" (where we would toss a piece of broken equipment overboard) to stupid decisions about food by our disbursing officer (like serving liver and onions once every two weeks). Before the liver and onions lovers blast me over that, let me relate the story of it:

When liver and onions were on the menu, the cooks would also cook hot dogs. If you lollygagged a bit, or were on watch, and were not in the first group in the chow line, you got no hot dogs. They went fast because only a small number of the crew wanted liver and onions.

I asked the disbursing officer why he wanted to serve liver and onions.

He replied, "They're good for you."

"Not if you don't eat them," I retorted, "and I am not the only one who won't eat it. Most of the crew grabs the hot dogs."

"But they're good for you," he insisted. And I gave up.

We also stole food (mostly things like pepperoni and cans of peanut butter) when taking on provisions... which went to waste because we'd end up tossing it over the side after we got tired of it. The milk would go sour after 5 days at sea and end up being dumped. After that, we'd get "bug juice" (Kool-Aid) and powdered milk for our coffee (the Navy got me in the habit of drinking black coffee, no sugar once I got aboard a ship). Some of the crew persisted, though. I had had enough of powdered milk when I was a child (milk was expensive and Mom tried to be thrifty).

So I have seen waste in government and you have also... like when you see government work crews where only one is actually doing some work and 3-4 others are just there...

But even when work is contracted out, it seems like the contractors don't worry about the work as they would when hired by the public. I know that I insist a job be done right when I pay someone to do it and I am reasonably sure you do too.

And then there's waiting in line at the post office or DMV only to have a clerk go on break or to lunch when it is your turn next.

So I don't trust government to do most things efficiently. Unless we are talking about the IRS... they are relentless.


Tal Hartsfeld said...

I like the part about "going on break or to lunch when it's your turn".
Seriously, how come these employees never have anyone backing them up?
And why do people need to eat "lunch"? Why not a good breakfast in the morning and a decent meal in the evening? Why is it necessary to eat mid-day? Are people in general just bonafide gluttons?

Douglas said...

Tal, I rarely eat more than two meals a day and I almost never eat breakfast. Breakfast always made me sleepy about 2 hours into school so I skipped it most days, only ate it when I was in the Navy because it was there and I didn't care if I got sleepy later. Nowadays I eat about 2 PM and munch on various snacks from time to time.