Your verification ID is: guDlT7MCuIOFFHSbB3jPFN5QLaQ Big Computing: Why the US Congress can not fix the budget problem

Monday, August 1, 2011

Why the US Congress can not fix the budget problem

The financial problems faced by the Federal government are not new ones and have been building for decades. The American people knew they were coming, and those in charge in the federal government were not blinded to the issues. Why were these issues never addressed?

I believe the answer is the design of our federal government and the reasons behind it's particular organization. The federal government of the United States was setup by a group of men who feared tyranny. The men understood that the best way to prevent that kind of problem was to create a government that was weak and inefficient. Even as the federal government has become more powerful over the last 200+ years it has counterbalanced that improvement by becoming more cumbersome and inefficient. The Senate has grown from 26 members to 100 and the House has grown from 64 members to well over 400. In addition Congress costs about $6B a year and increases at a rate of roughly 14%. a true model of inefficiency.

So why can't Congress address the debit crisis? Simply stated because it was never designed to do that. It was designed to prevent tyranny.

5 comments:

  1. "The federal government of the United States was setup by a group of men who feared tyranny. The men understood that the best way to prevent that kind of problem was to create a government that was weak and inefficient."

    Your first assertion is true. But I think you can improve on that second thought - I don't think that was their goal. They set up a government of checks and balances in order to control change and prevent frivolous change. They believed the country was built on a solid foundation and it shouldn't move off that foundation without good reason.

    Perhaps what has changed is not the structure of the government, but the structure of the voter. Voting is a right, but I don't think the framers meant for it to be attended to with great ignorance. When Lincoln and Douglas debated, people took trains and camped out in order to attend and listen. They took pains to educate themselves on the issues. Knowledgeable voters had the wherewithal to hold their representatives accountable and vote them out. The country clearly does not enjoy many knowledgeable voters at this point in time - and IMO many of those that consider themselves knowledgeable are much more ignorant than those they disparage.

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  2. A system of checks and balances is an inefficient system, but I do agree that the nature of the voter has changed a great deal. originally a voter meant a white male land owner, and the framers like Jefferson feared things like "mass rule". That is why originally Federal offices like Senators were elected by State legislatures as were the members of the electoral college who selected the President. Overtime we have moved that power directly to the people and expanded what we mean by the people. Our people have shown a very low voter rate, but I am not sure that means they are not invested in the system because we are still at our heart a representative government and not a true democracy.

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