I have questions for you, if you ever see this.
Do you see any practical way to get where you want to go? I mean that figuratively, not literally, though of course large-scale roads are awfully hard to imagine coming about as the result of market forces. Not impossible, just... really unlikely.
If we get where you want to go, how long do you think that state will persist? Can you close the door to feature creep and still maintain responsiveness to the requirements of the constituents? That is, will there be some iron laws that will never be changed?
So there's some push-back against the economic stimulus bill winding its way through congress... Sen. Kay Bailey Hutchison was on Meet The Press saying she hoped (and that many like her hoped) that they could remove the "social spending," and keep the spending that is stimulative or oriented towards job creation. I think the "social spending" she referred to was expanded unemployment benefits and food stamps and perhaps direct aid to the states.
It seems to me that most people can't be blamed when their job is cut back or curtailed when they're the last domino in the line that began with Wall Street-types generating bets on whether about the bets another Wall Street-type made. Also, when folks are paycheck-to-paycheck, if you eliminate their paychecks, you cut back demand in the economy. I'd think, then, that these folks are ones you'd want to be subsidizing when you're combating a slowdown. This is, I understand, a pretty common view... So I'm a bit skeptical about the skepticism.
Similarly, the states and localities provide a lot of services that we need... garbage, sewer, a certain amount of transit-related services, jails, hospitals, etc. I guess we could eliminate all the velvet-lined foster homes... but after that, you're really running up against the fact that most places just don't spend huge amounts on things that the people don't need. I agree that I see things that might be absurd, but these things just aren't large budget items. When you cut them, you get a small savings, to be sure, but the state revenues aren't going down by a small amount--they're going down a large amount, and possibly a huge amount, depending on where you are. I'm not sure that a drastic reduction in the quality of life is what Sen. Hutchison is hoping to achieve, but that seems to be a very likely result if she gets her way.
As far as gov't investment in the future goes, well, I think that'd be nice. Certainly, we can help lay down a nice foundation for growth. Example? Reduction in road transport costs opened up new markets for internal producers--NIDA under Eisenhower probably had just a little to do with that, and it was, at the time, a public works project of an unheard-of size. We could try more things like this with the understanding that the ultimate benefits may be down the line some, but good luck getting support for that. Instead, we may have a series of smaller projects that look unimportant right now: a big push for subsidizing broadband infrastructure; modernization of utilities (especially power); increasing the penetration of rail transport and transit; improvements to educational facilities.
What's great about things like that is that they may reduce the costs of moving things and people where you need or want them to be, may reduce the costs of getting the factors of production where you need or want them to be, etc. By doing that you may make possible products and companies you never dreamed of--something that undeniably happened after the interstate highway revolution. Now, not a lot of people would argue that the quality of life decreased precipitously (or even did anything other than increase rapidly [on average]) over the generation or two after that, I think--such investments can pay off!
So I'm not sure, but I think the idea of stimulus is possibly workable. I also think that Sen. Hutchison is wrong to divorce the "social spending" from the stimulus. Will it work? Maybe, maybe not: nobody knows, and only those who experienced the depression know how bad it can and has gotten in the U.S.
- I click my teeth together and modulate the sound with my oral cavity to play little songs. In completely unrelated news, I'll probably need to get fake teeth at some point.
- Salt and vinegar potato chips are probably my favorite, but they're disgusting. Go figure.
- I read and re-read lame "swords and sorcery"-type books when I'm feeling a lot of stress.(cf. here,here, and here)
- I hate turning left (in a car, not on the runway) and think it really ought to be eliminated entirely.
- When I was a little kid I wanted for some time to be an FBI agent. I made a huge mess with fingerprint powder.
- I have a really unpleasant dependence on caffeine that I'd like to one day kick.
- My nose developed this mole right on the end in high school. Thanks, mole.
- I actually kind of like plaid flannel shirts.
- I used to wear socks around the house when I was a lad. But I kept stepping in wet stuff (e.g. drops of water in the kitchen) which made me insane. I'm doing it again, though.
- Bright light gives me a headache. Not a migraine, just a headache.
- I've only ever gotten the tiniest effect from poison oak, and only once, in the crook of my elbow. Since then I've hauled myself uphill with the stuff, spattered my face with its pulp whilst weed-whacking, etc., with no ill effect.
- I overslept and then mismanaged time on my wedding day, leading to a bit of an overly speedy drive to the site. I arrived in plenty--PLENTY!--of time.
- I had a not-bad golf-swing when I was younger.
- I swallowed LEGOs as a kid. Not just the tiny ones. It was an experiment.
- I find wood-splitting to be a ton of fun.
- These days I find it difficult to go to sleep without a pillow over my face.
- When I die I'd like to be cremated. Compress my ashes into a diamond, or something.
- I am growing more liberal, conservative, and libertarian, with time.
- I am abjectly terrified of spiders, this despite the fact I used to play with them a lot.
- I am pretty afraid of heights, but I love to fly, ride roller coasters.
- I caught a few minutes of the super bowl last night, more, I think, than the last few years.
- My favorite food is probably ribs.
- My least favorite food is probably offal.
- I love fall. I think spring may be too ostentatious.
- I have freakish luck with one-shot impersonations. I can never repeat the performance.