Saturday, January 29, 2005

My Govrenment In Action

Like many men, one of the biggest role models in my life was my father. One of the sayings of his I took to heart (likely passed down by his father) was, “Thank god the government is inefficient. If it really could all things it says it could we would really be in trouble.” I was reminded of that saying as ABC did a special all the things the government is doing to try to track terrorist.

Now it may shock some of you, but even with a strong libertarian streak I have no fear about idea cards or my government ttempting to keep tabs on me. Why? Well first off America is too free of a society in general. No matter what obstacles the US government puts up, the American people will industriously find a way around them. Just look at all the industrious ways American found around prohibition.

Moreover what helps me not flinch at intrusions into my privacy is my fundamental belief that Governments NEVER do anything well. I mentioned the ABC news report, look at these quotes from their website:

In April 2000, Nicole Robinson, of suburban Maryland, allegedly had her identity
stolen by a woman in Texas who had the same first and last names. To date, at
least 65 different addresses and 42 different names have been used in
connection with her Social Security number.

Nearly five years later, she is still unable to clean up her
credit record and establish definitively who she is, even though the woman in
Texas has been arrested.

And if Nicole from Maryland is now somewhere in the
government computer system, for whatever reason, the government may not be able
to figure out precisely who she is.

David Fathi, a lawyer with the American Civil Liberties
Union who has been told he is on a government "no fly" list. Fathi
has been detained at airports 10 times in the last year and a half. He thinks
it may be his name, which is Iranian…Fathi is also alarmed that the
security system -- managed by the government in partnership with private
airlines -- doesn't catch him every time.

According to its own analysis, the Department of Homeland
Security has failed to merge 12 separate terrorist watch lists currently being
used by nine federal agencies.

In recent years, the federal government has launched more
than 100 separate data analysis systems in 52 federal agencies.

Now look at all these. We have:

  1. A woman who the government is unwilling to accept out of bureaucratic inertia she exists

  2. A man on a “no-fly” list who is regularly allowed to board planes with no more than a standard cursory check.

  3. The government office IN CHARGE of security who cannot only just cut and paste 12 Word documents but for that matter cannot even make an inter office memo to 9 other people saying “Watch out for these people!”

  4. In a bid to do one simple thing, keep track of people of various sorts, the government has 100 separate computer systems for 52 agencies, do the math that is TWO SEPARATE DATABASES PER OFFICE!

To add I personal story to this, I needed my daughters Social Security Number for my tax forms. Now I know somebody at the Embassy, and I mistakenly thought that in this day and age some of this is all linked together. I could just call up the embassy, get him to punch in my name, listed in there would not only be my name and social security, but also the number of my dependants.

Not so, first he does not even have access to my daughters SSN, he does not even have access to MY SSN (most likely just my passport number). In order to get such I have to go to the embassy, fill out a form, SEND IT TO MANILA, PI, wait for it to be processed, they then send up a sealed envelope, which I have to pick up in person after proving I am me.

In the end, much like the industrious American I referred to, I solved the problem by leaving my daughter off my list of dependants for my tax returns (which is legal as far as I know). That was simply much easier than putting up with all
that crap for a lousy $2,000 deduction or so that I don’t really need in the first place.

So lets take the libertarian nightmare, let’s say that the government requires all of us to have RF microchip implants to track us. I am sure the following things will happen:

  1. A number of chips will not work at all since the US government contracted out production to the lowest bidder.

  2. Since this is government program, every 5 installers will have a supervisor, every 5 supervisors will have a manager, every 5 managers will have director, etc. etc. Also this program will have to hire on an accounting team, a quality assurance/audit team, and a diversity coordinator…you get where this is going.

    So due to all these people who need to manage/supervise/have a desk. There will only be about 1 installer for every 400,000 people in the Untied States (don’t laugh, if I told you there would be 1000 installers you would get worried, and for no damn good reason)

  3. Between the fact that the installers were former McDonalds employees, and are paid by the hour, each installer
    will be able to install only two people per hour (stupid enough for the job, but smart enough to know that if its by the hour it does not matter how many you serve). The installation centers will be open form 10:30-11:30 and 1:30-3:30 and closed on Thursdays. Do the math at that rate we will all be chipped up and safe in about 350 years!

  4. It will be found by some guy that due to the design of the chips (remember cheapest bidder), if you walk around with a FM radio the chip signal will effectively be blocked.

  5. It will be found that the hand held scanners carried by law enforcement persons increase the risk of fingertip cancer by .0005% workman’s comp and trial lawyers have a field day!

  6. The Supreme Court rules that police are profiling since they are only stopping people who are too poor to buy
    an FM Radio.

You get the idea. God bless the USA for being the way it is, or else we would all really be in trouble.


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