Showing posts from September, 2011

Saving democracy through compulsory voting?

CNN recently published a surprisingly starkly worded opinion piece titled Stupid voters enable broken government. The gist of the article is that we have governments we elect, and therefore governments we deserve.

But do we, really?

A commenter points out the following:Most eligible voters don't even vote. Only 37% did in the 2010 election. That means it only takes 18.87% of all eligible voters to get elected. And that means a candidate must pander to the bat shit crazies...because the batshit crazies are definitely voting.

It's very likely the other 63% of voters don't show up to the polls because they don't think the candidates represent their views. This works out to a feedback effect since if they did show up, their opinions would carry weight and the candidates would reflect their views.I've spent a fair amount of time contemplating the faults of democracy, but its salvation might be much more straightforward than I thought.

Edit: Wikipedia has a list of countries…

US Military Waste

Reddit recently had an interesting debate with someone who states he was a Contracting Officer in the US Air Force for several years, and was able to shed some inside light on US military waste.

We learn that things like $10,000 hammers are generally miscommunications. An invoice might contain maintenance work worth $10,000 and supplies worth $10, and the line items get swapped around; or the wrong product code is entered.

That being said, there's still substantial waste. It happens as follows:For many types of purchases, the military is required to look for a handicapped, veteran-owned, female-owned, minority-owned, or small business to buy from, before even considering e.g. Walmart. These types of businesses then buy the items themselves and resell to the military at a markup. This is effectively a subsidy program for business owned by veterans, minorities, and women.There are programs like NASA SEWP that buy products large-scale from contractors that buy from other contractors th…