Wednesday, September 9, 2020

What Changes Will Happen?

 No matter who wins the next election, there is a limit to how many changes that administration will be able to make.


Because people will not support changes that force them to change most aspects of their lives. They live the way they want to, within the limits of their ability to pay for it (or, persuade others to pay for it).

How does that slow/stop the change?

Well, take public transportation, for example. Most people agree it's a public good, worthy of spending money on. Big projects are announced, built, and debuted with many praising its capacity for moving large quantities of people, the stations' stylish good looks, and the ease of use. First-day riders often include the very progressive people who pushed for the project to be created.

Those same people who congratulated themselves on their 'Green' outlook, and the magnificence of the transport system, never use it again.

Ridership is always a tiny fraction of the numbers that were projected. Bus stops become vandalized, urine-drenched, and complete eyesores. Few ride, outside of peak daylight hours. And, even then, those riding are working people who have no other choice.

No one rides who has any other alternative.

Lack of money from fares leaves the system even poorer, less able to provide repair and maintenance, and cutting services to poorly-used routes.

Which is the status quo, until yet another progressive says, "We need to upgrade the transit system..."

Everyone knows this. Yet, no one - at least no one who is employed by the transit system - will say the truth that is obvious. That transit systems are 19th century technology, jerry-rigged for the 20th century, that can no longer be justified, either economically, or by social good.

Why doesn't anyone say so, plainly? This is the real reason.

Expecting a system to reform itself is useless. The only cure is to allow real competition, and let the best competitor win.

That means privatizing many of the services of government. It means taking away regulations, which means that employment in government (of the enforcers of those regulations) would shrink. It means chopping away at the ossified layers of bureaucracy, and releasing those employed in those non-essential sectors to leave (grease their departure with severance pay, turning their pensions over to be managed by means of an IRA/other retirement savings). Let them retire, with an incentive, if they are close to that age/number of years. It is expensive to do so, but cheaper in the long run (particularly if the pension obligations are reduced).

Understand, I'm not suggesting doing so in essential parts of government. But, so few of those exist, that we could easily reduce the federal government, for example, by 2/3.

What will those employees do?

They may go to work for the new competition. They may find other private-sector jobs. They might decide to start a business.

I don't know, and I don't care. At that point, they aren't any of my concern. As long as I don't have to give them my money to fuel their lifestyle, they can do whatever they want.

But, get rid of their employment. Expecting the rusty apparatus of government to change while they stay there is just not gonna happen. Any system, according to Le Chatelier's Principle, a system under stress will respond by shifting to reduce the stress. Such systems work against change, making adjustments to ensure that the status quo is re-established.

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