Linked by Thom Holwerda on Thu 29th Aug 2013 14:14 UTC
In the News

Victoria Espinel, who until recently served as the White House's first intellectual property enforcement coordinator, will now head one of the most powerful trade groups in the tech industry. She's been tapped to become the new president and CEO of The Software Alliance (or BSA) starting September 3rd. In her new role, she'll be tasked with pushing the anti-piracy interests of major players like Microsoft, Dell, Apple, Oracle, and Intel. And while the BSA spends a large part of its time lobbying Congress and other governments to push that agenda, Espinel will be barred from engaging in such practices herself - at least initially. According to Politico, an ethics pledge Espinel took to secure her "copyright czar" position under President Obama prevents her from lobbying for at least two years.

No corruption here. Nothing to see. Move along.

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RE[3]: Wikipedia
by saso on Sat 31st Aug 2013 01:38 UTC in reply to "RE[2]: Wikipedia"
saso
Member since:
2007-04-18

Time to go back to the federal government being limited to at most 3% of gdp which would put it in charge of just military operations and not much else. What isn't there can't be corrupted. And the remaining competition between the state governments should help those clean up as well.

So you don't want institutions like the USPS, FBI, NASA, FAA, FCC, EPA, NRC, NOAA, etc.? You do realize that our way of life has changed a bit since the 1790s...

Reply Parent Score: 4

RE[4]: Wikipedia
by Alfman on Sat 31st Aug 2013 03:26 in reply to "RE[3]: Wikipedia"
Alfman Member since:
2011-01-28

saso,

"So you don't want institutions like the USPS, FBI, NASA, FAA, FCC, EPA, NRC, NOAA, etc.? You do realize that our way of life has changed a bit since the 1790s..."

Personally I think government is a good thing in theory, insofar as it's genuinely representing the public and being accountable. But when the theory meets reality it's a different matter entirely, since many modern governments end up existing for their own sakes without regards to the will of the people and without accountability.

I would actually like to see most of our federal taxes get decimated in favor of higher local taxes and local programs. This would theoretically increase government competition, increase the odds of good ideas being adopted and spreading, and increase the government's ability to cater to the local demographic which federal programs cannot. Diversity is a great thing. The federal government could provide emergency safety nets and military needs, but ideally we would not be dependent upon the federal government at all for ordinary needs.

Reply Parent Score: 2

RE[5]: Wikipedia
by saso on Sat 31st Aug 2013 10:44 in reply to "RE[4]: Wikipedia"
saso Member since:
2007-04-18

Personally I think government is a good thing in theory, insofar as it's genuinely representing the public and being accountable. But when the theory meets reality it's a different matter entirely, since many modern governments end up existing for their own sakes without regards to the will of the people and without accountability.

I agree with you that it's not perfect. My post was about pointing out that the federal government, for all of its faults and rampant corruption, still performs important duties which most people would not want to get rid off. You don't throw the baby out of with the bathwater.
I would actually like to see most of our federal taxes get decimated in favor of higher local taxes and local programs. This would theoretically increase government competition, increase the odds of good ideas being adopted and spreading, and increase the government's ability to cater to the local demographic which federal programs cannot. Diversity is a great thing. The federal government could provide emergency safety nets and military needs, but ideally we would not be dependent upon the federal government at all for ordinary needs.

Right, that's why I only listed agencies which require inter-state powers and coordination in order to be effective. If you want to see how the "as little federal government as possible" thing is working out, take a look at the EU. That's not to say that the EU is generally worse off, but some of the EU equivalents of the US agencies work with a lot more friction and slower (ESA, Interpol, postage, European parliament, etc.) and some things have no equivalents (NOAA, EPA, NRC, etc.). Switching to the EU model would mean pretty much dissolving the union.

Edited 2013-08-31 10:45 UTC

Reply Parent Score: 3

RE[4]: Wikipedia
by Alfman on Sat 31st Aug 2013 03:46 in reply to "RE[3]: Wikipedia"
Alfman Member since:
2011-01-28

I was curious just how much of our taxes went to NASA after reading your post, it turns out not much at all and it's still being targeted for cut.

http://www.space.com/22023-nasa-authorization-bill-debate.html
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Budget_of_NASA

"The American public perceives the NASA budget as commanding a much larger share of the federal budget than it in fact does. A 1997 poll reported that Americans had an average estimate of 20% for NASA's share of the federal budget, far higher than the actual 0.5% to under 1% that has been maintained throughout the late '90s and first decade of the 2000s.[16] It is estimated that most Americans spent less than $9 on NASA through personal income tax in 2009."

Of course we all know where the money's going without even looking...
http://www.warresisters.org/pages/piechart.htm

Reply Parent Score: 3

RE[5]: Wikipedia
by saso on Sat 31st Aug 2013 10:32 in reply to "RE[4]: Wikipedia"
saso Member since:
2007-04-18

I was curious just how much of our taxes went to NASA after reading your post, it turns out not much at all and it's still being targeted for cut.

Of course it isn't much, NASA is a research organization doing cutting edge long-term research, so it makes sense that its budget is going to be limited, plus there's a shitload of other agencies in the federal government (as I noted). However, that having been said, I kind of appreciate its work and the fruits of its labor, which have paid off thousandfold. If NASA were to be broken up between states, though, it would be too small to do what it does. Advancing the space frontier requires non-trivial amounts of money and effort and that kind of implies a big budget of a big country.

Reply Parent Score: 4

RE[5]: Wikipedia
by kwan_e on Sat 31st Aug 2013 14:12 in reply to "RE[4]: Wikipedia"
kwan_e Member since:
2007-02-18

Neil DeGrasse Tyson makes this comparison:

If you try to slice of a piece of a US dollar bill in proportion to how much NASA gets of the budget, you don't even get into the ink.

The military gets in a single year more than NASA ever got over its entire lifetime.

I also like NdGT's solution to bring American innovation and economic supremacy back on track: just double NASA's budget. That would be more than enough to get us to Mars.

Reply Parent Score: 4