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 li

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 cont