Tuesday, August 24, 2010

A subtle enumeration

I went to this meeting for conservative enthusiasts. Essentially it was a meeting of the geriatric sort, they were mad as hell and ready for bed. The most interesting part of the night was near the end, the organizers set up a mock debate for new constitutional amendments in an attempt to impose constitutional limits on our government. Ironic when you think about it. Nonetheless, each amendment had good intentions, but in my opinion were busts. One astute octogenarian noted: what good are new amendments when no one pays attention to today's plain meaning. Good question.

Any honest (and even a dishonest one now and then) person knows that the constitution was a document limiting federal power. More precisely, the constitution is an enumeration of federal powers. What was written was what the government could do and everything else was off limits. Now some time ago that got flipped around and our government..er, constitution became a negative document, i.e. government can do anything except that forbidden by the constitution.

We conservative folks old and young alike prefer the original meaning of the constitution, limited federal government. The question is how to achieve it? I think we need to attack the flanks and in the end achieve our goal: to limit the federal government.

The amendment should be to limit federal tax revenues to 25% of Gross Domestic Product. My libertarian friends would be dismayed, but in the end the goal is to make peace, live in harmony, and put an end to the ever encroaching federal Leviathan. 25% is a lot of money, and it grows every year as the economy grows (nice incentive alignment eh?). That high percentage also has the effect of shaming our representatives (if that's possible). If you can't live within your means, when our means are substantial, then when can you?

I am not the first with this proposal, but I am adding my voice in support. Let's give Caesar more than enough to make him fat and happy, and slothful enough to leave the rest of us alone.

Monday, August 2, 2010

Get an ugly friend

I had a boss who from my estimation wasn't a very good boss. He wasn't a bad guy, in fact he cared a great deal about his employees, but from an objective standpoint I think he wasn't a strong organizer. He lacked the big picture perspective, preferring to put out fires rather than build a well functioning machine. Eventually, the shit hit the fan at my company and there was a house cleaning. The CEO got fired, some other folks were asked to leave, and my boss was one of them.

What's amazing to me is that it took so long for him (and the CEO) to get fired. Objectively they were doing a bad job. But the thing is that they were rated subjectively. At a certain level it's difficult to determine if someone is actually doing a good job. When you have fifty engineers doing the same task, it's easy to grade them against each other. But when you have one guy doing a unique job, how do you know if someone else could have done it better?

The only way we know socialism is a terrible system of government, is that we have capitalism to compare it to. When there is only one system, one way of doing things, no one can compare it to what doesn't exist. Capitalism is far superior to all other forms of social organization. If we want to promote capitalism and the free market, it's not enough to extol it's virtues. We must create an island where the benefits can be seen. America used to be that island, maybe we should start looking elsewhere.