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Ron Paul Suggests Axing 5 U.S. Federal Departments (and Budgets) 2247

Posted by timothy
from the sounds-pretty-good-to-me dept.
sciencehabit writes with this selection from Science: "Presidential hopeful Ron Paul's new proposal to slash federal spending would wipe out large chunks of the government's research portfolio. The congressman from Texas and Republican candidate has unveiled a budget plan to reduce the deficit that would eliminate five federal departments: Energy, Commerce, Interior, Education, and Housing and Urban Development. In one fell swoop, such a step would erase, among other programs, the Energy Department's $5-billion Office of Science, the $4.5-billion National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, the $750-million National Institute of Standards and Technology, and the $1.1-billion U.S. Geological Survey."
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Ron Paul Suggests Axing 5 U.S. Federal Departments (and Budgets)

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  • by swschrad (312009) on Thursday October 20, 2011 @10:49AM (#37775892) Homepage Journal

    if folks don't know anything, it can't hurt them, right?

  • by Kenja (541830) on Thursday October 20, 2011 @10:49AM (#37775902)
    No more energy research, no more parks, no more public education, no more low income housing, no more roads & bridges. What a grand utopia he has planned for us.
  • How about... (Score:5, Insightful)

    by i.r.id10t (595143) on Thursday October 20, 2011 @10:50AM (#37775910)

    Getting rid of the BATFE and the TSA instead?

  • Simple solution (Score:5, Insightful)

    by i kan reed (749298) on Thursday October 20, 2011 @10:50AM (#37775916) Homepage Journal

    "For every complex problem, there is an answer that is clear, simple--and wrong."
    --H.L. Mencken

  • Pretty Sure (Score:5, Insightful)

    by OverlordQ (264228) on Thursday October 20, 2011 @10:52AM (#37775948) Journal

    That if this happened, after the next earthquake or hurricane demolishes a few large metropolitan areas people would be wondering why we had no warning.

  • by orphiuchus (1146483) on Thursday October 20, 2011 @10:53AM (#37775978)

    Doesn't the DOE spend a good deal of its time dealing with nukes?

    Isn't that kind of important? Even to libertarians?

  • by khallow (566160) on Thursday October 20, 2011 @10:54AM (#37776010)
    Remember the US is a federation. The states provide for those things as well. And pushing most of this load down to the states is probably a good idea from the point of view of balance of power.
  • Ron Paul... (Score:5, Insightful)

    by bmo (77928) on Thursday October 20, 2011 @10:55AM (#37776028)

    is a nutjob.

    I had a long dissertation thought out, but man, this shit just boggles my mind. NOAA? Is he kidding? I'm sure all of you remember (probably not, but I'm giving the benefit of the doubt) the fact that he said that "Hurr, Galveston didn't have anyone to bail them out during their hurricane" totally forgetting how many people /died/ because of no hurricane warning and forecasting.

    The next time there's a hurricane coming up Galveston Bay, I want Ron Paul to be out in the middle of it. Outside. Naked.

    --
    BMO

  • by MikeB0Lton (962403) on Thursday October 20, 2011 @10:57AM (#37776068)
    Most of that is either a function of the state and local governments or privatized.
  • by garcia (6573) on Thursday October 20, 2011 @10:57AM (#37776082)

    We're duplicating efforts which are already handled from the (current) federal level all the way down to the very local level at your town's city hall.

    Could the county government handle their own section of a federal highway? They may already be (I have seen survey markers from the state and USGS in the same general area). Can county parks personnel handle national parks? Maybe, maybe not.

    However, what we do know is that duplication of effort is expensive and wasteful. We live in a time when we cannot afford waste and increased spending--something which always seems to happen regardless of what belt-tightening we do.

    Maybe the best way to deal with it is to start axing groups outright. We're definitely in need of a change to how things operate and these changes will hurt--bad. We've been living on borrowed time and we need to cut spending, raise revenues (taxes), and pay off the debts we've incurred due to stupid policy.

    Let's face the facts and fix the fucking problem.

  • by mathmathrevolution (813581) on Thursday October 20, 2011 @10:58AM (#37776088)
    The US needs a nuclear weapons program. We need border patrol. We need specialized regulatory and enforcement agencies like FCC. Pretending that all these programs are optional to anybody, even the most retrograde conservative, is just empty posturing and shameless pandering to ideologically driven morons.
  • by Anonymous Coward on Thursday October 20, 2011 @11:00AM (#37776130)

    Jeez. Because deregulating the financial sector has worked soooooo very well.

  • by Anonymous Coward on Thursday October 20, 2011 @11:00AM (#37776140)

    Yeah, I can't wait to see Kansas science in action.

  • Re:No more (Score:5, Insightful)

    by MightyMartian (840721) on Thursday October 20, 2011 @11:00AM (#37776146) Journal

    So people would have to pay to find out if a hurricane is going to nail them?

    Ah America, land where sociopathic greed is not only approved of, but actually encouraged.

  • by hierofalcon (1233282) on Thursday October 20, 2011 @11:01AM (#37776162)

    Energy research can be done by corporations. Parks can be managed by the states they are located in - all of them have recreation departments of their own. The same is true of monuments. Public education is already managed by states. There is no need for any federal bureaucracy there AT ALL. Low income housing doesn't disappear because a federal government disappears. Let the housing be managed by each state where it resides. Let states fix roads and bridges directly with the gas tax. And so on and so on. There are a few departments that we do need, and they would continue to exist although their direction would be changed by Ron Paul. Many should have disappeared long ago.

  • knee-jerk (Score:4, Insightful)

    by starmonkey (2486412) on Thursday October 20, 2011 @11:02AM (#37776190)
    Ron Paul seems like an intelligent, thoughtful man. Let's avoid a knee-jerk reaction to this "news". Maybe he has an idea to continue providing the core public services of these departments while cutting bureaucratic complexity. I don't think there's enough information here. Then again, it's a lot more fun to get indignant!
  • by defaria (741527) <Andrew@DeFaria.com> on Thursday October 20, 2011 @11:04AM (#37776244) Homepage
    Have you no faith in the goodness of the American people? Do you serious think that without these cabinet level positions such things are impossible?!? Or have you diluted yourself into thinking that the reason we have say public education is because of the Dept. of Ed? You do know we didn't have that one til relatively recently and yet public education managed just fine without it. And why do you believe that energy is a commodity that only gov can research? We research all kinds of other things without a cabinet level office to "guide" us.
  • Why not ... (Score:5, Insightful)

    by PPH (736903) on Thursday October 20, 2011 @11:05AM (#37776258)

    ... the DEA and ATF. Move their law enforcement functions into the FBI. Move their regulatory (drugs, alcohol, tobacco) functions into the FDA and Dept of Agriculture*. You could combine NOAA and the USGS. There's probably some remote sensing, mapping, tsunami/earthquake/tornado/weather/whatever warning functions that could be combined.

    * I see he's not touching the Dept of Agriculture. Too many farmers on the gov't dole vote, I guess.

  • by Anonymous Coward on Thursday October 20, 2011 @11:05AM (#37776278)

    You hit the nail square on the head! These departments can always use every last penny given to them. A private corporation 1) would make no attempt at dealing with any of these things, and if they did 2) they would fuck it up horribly. Private corporations are all about money. Making people (specifically shareholders and only shareholders) as much money as possible. They would take all of the money, stuff it into their bank accounts (for a luxury yacht or a new house in the Hamptons), and basically do nothing. The government's focus is on people, private interests interests are, private. Any time a private corporation has gone into this kind of thing, the results have been craptacular. Among right-wing blowhards there is the idea that private corporations can do anything. This is a trillion miles from the truth. Any industry or organization where people *must* come before profits, private corporations fuck it up beyond all measure. Non-profit organizations are very effective for niche areas, but for very large scale needs, governments must be involved.

  • by defaria (741527) <Andrew@DeFaria.com> on Thursday October 20, 2011 @11:05AM (#37776282) Homepage
    Corporations have already provided you with 1000 times more stuff than government has ever had. Do us all a favor and stop right now from every purchasing another thing that a dirty corporation produced. You'll die within the month!
  • Re:Simple solution (Score:4, Insightful)

    by MyFirstNameIsPaul (1552283) <myfirstnameispaul@gmail.com> on Thursday October 20, 2011 @11:06AM (#37776312) Homepage Journal
    For every complex argument reduced to simple terms, there is a bonehead who will use a one line quote as a counterargument.
  • So? (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Angst Badger (8636) on Thursday October 20, 2011 @11:07AM (#37776324)

    This is about as newsworthy as Ron Paul declaring that he plans to remodel my kitchen. Barring a long series of astronomically unlikely events, he's not going to get anywhere close to having the authority to do so. Providing passing entertainment on Slashdot during a slow news day may well be his high water mark.

  • by Qzukk (229616) on Thursday October 20, 2011 @11:09AM (#37776404) Journal

    Are you saying that all of these things are impossible without the Federal Government paying for them?

    Yes. You can pretend that capitalism can provide exactly what the government provides now, but capitalism cannot magically make non-profitable things profitable. If it isn't profitable, it won't happen.

  • by MightyYar (622222) on Thursday October 20, 2011 @11:10AM (#37776424)

    Corporations are a creation of the government. They are like copyrights and patents - they only exist in law. Separating the two is impossible.

    The conversation would be much more constructive if the conversation were: "What do we want corporations to do/be?"

    But then we wouldn't be able to join the red team or the blue team.

  • by alvinrod (889928) on Thursday October 20, 2011 @11:11AM (#37776452)
    The Department of Education was created in 1979. Are you seriously suggesting that we wouldn't have public education anymore if it were removed? Only the Department of the Interior has been around for nearly the entirety of the nation. Somehow things managed to get done before they were put in place.

    Personally, I wish that he'd go a step farther and get rid of the abomination that is Homeland Security. That should be the first one on the chopping block and then we can worry about working backwards.
  • by SuricouRaven (1897204) on Thursday October 20, 2011 @11:11AM (#37776462)
    "In terms of mapping rocks and whatnot, there are great incentives for energy and mineral companies to perform this kind of research internally."

    There is also great incentive for them to keep that data secret and never publish any of their research, because doing so would allow their competitors to benefit.
  • by FyberOptic (813904) on Thursday October 20, 2011 @11:13AM (#37776508)

    That's the thing about Ron Paul. He makes a few good points once in a while, but he's such an extremist that he just wants to wildly slash everything in government with a machete. That's not the solution to anything. Most of the organizations he wants to destroy actually do good things and serve important roles, but may need to simply be restructured to better serve those roles instead of just throwing money at them in their current form. And that's not to mention the literally thousands of jobs he would be cutting to serve his agenda.

    Ron Paul's mind is still a hundred years in the past. He's regularly citing things from far back in the country's history. Things that worked back then won't work today. Society's complexities and modernizations require some degree of management or oversight. Paul doesn't see that because all he can see is the fantasy of small government he envisions of yesteryear.

    The USA isn't a western. Let's stop trying to treat it like one.

  • by Anonymous Coward on Thursday October 20, 2011 @11:13AM (#37776512)

    What the department of education being axed means no more schools? Why do people think having bureaucrats interfering in a teacher's classroom is a good idea? The people at the Dept. of Education (DE) are not elected and are not accountable to the voters. Washington constantly pushes out unfunded mandates that increase the burden on local schools. Both parties push for these things when they get power, no child left behind, how many potatoes kids should eat during the week.

    As for the task given to the DE, improving the US schools, they have done a poor job. So yes get rid of it and let the states and better yet localities assume more control over the local schools. This ultimately gives parents and voters more control over the schools because local officials are more accountable and removable than people in DC.

  • by gQuigs (913879) on Thursday October 20, 2011 @11:13AM (#37776516) Homepage

    I get it, they are reporting what they want to see kept (I want to see them kept too). They are a drop in the bucket compared to the 1 Trillion dollar the plan cuts.

    Or in the plans on words:

    "Cuts $1 trillion in spending during the first year of Ron Paul’s presidency, eliminating five cabinet departments (Energy, HUD, Commerce, Interior, and Education), abolishing the Transportation Security Administration and returning responsibility for security to private property owners, abolishing corporate subsidies, stopping foreign aid, ending foreign wars, and returning most other spending to 2006 levels."

    "Makes a 10% reduction in the federal workforce, slashes Congressional pay and perks, and curbs excessive federal travel. To stand with the American People, President Paul will take a salary of $39,336, approximately equal to the median personal income of the American worker. "

    He also goes to lower taxes which I don't like, which he can actually "afford" in his plan. The plan is certainly not what I would want, but it's the first serious plan I've seen from the Right in a long time.

    Read more. http://www.ronpaul2012.com/the-issues/ron-paul-plan-to-restore-america/ [ronpaul2012.com]

  • by sean.peters (568334) on Thursday October 20, 2011 @11:16AM (#37776630) Homepage
    You do realize, right, that all those private companies who are "more apt at the weather stuff" are doing it based on... weather data that they get for free from NOAA, right? Jesus, I wish the "seasteading" movement would get going, so we could export all our libertarians.
  • by ArcherB (796902) on Thursday October 20, 2011 @11:19AM (#37776722) Journal

    You are aware, I trust, that the USGS is responsible for a large number of monitoring programs. Basically, killing it would essentially leave the West Coast of the United States without tsunami, earthquake or volcano alerts. I'm sure the people that live along that very geologically active strip of turf will be happy to know that Ron Paul considers them essentially expendable in his quest for ideological purity.

    Why should the people of North Dakota pay for tsunami monitoring for California? If the west coast wants earth quake and tsunami warning, they can pay for it.

  • by truthsearch (249536) on Thursday October 20, 2011 @11:22AM (#37776774) Homepage Journal

    but NEVER can come up with plans or their own

    You clearly don't read enough, or simply ignore what you disagree with. Frank, Kucinich, Sanders (independent), and others have alternatives. Each has merits.

  • Re:No more (Score:4, Insightful)

    by Altus (1034) on Thursday October 20, 2011 @11:23AM (#37776804) Homepage

    Yea, better to ditch essential services than tax rich people.

  • by ackthpt (218170) on Thursday October 20, 2011 @11:24AM (#37776820) Homepage Journal

    Yep, he's the only guy that makes any sense. The two entrenched parties can only shoot holes in his ideas, but NEVER can come up with plans or their own. Of course, he won't get elected.

    Ironically, the last president to reduce the size of the federal government was Clinton (he really was a fiscal conservative) -- don't slash entire departments, pare them back, look for redundancy or those pesky things which were created but have now taken on a life of their own because their original directive has passed or become moot.

  • by uniquename72 (1169497) on Thursday October 20, 2011 @11:24AM (#37776826)

    I'm not clear here. What private corporation is going to do what the US Geological Survey does?

    The same ones that invented the internet, lasers, microchips, GPSs, and microwave ovens, went to the moon, built the largest highway system in the world, created our clean water infrastructure, and electrified most of a continent.

  • by chrb (1083577) on Thursday October 20, 2011 @11:25AM (#37776850)
    Put in standardized units:
    • Energy Department's $5-billion Office of Science = 2.5 days of the military
    • $4.5-billion National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration = 2.25 days of the military
    • $750-million National Institute of Standards and Technology = 9 hours of the military
    • $1.1-billion U.S. Geological Survey = 13 hours of the military

    (Based on Forbe's estimate of the cost of being U.S. military policy being $2 billion per day [forbes.com] If you want units solely in terms of the war in Afghanistan, that figure is $300 million per day. Adjust for other wars etc. War: it isn't cheap.)

    I wonder why Ron Paul doesn't talk about slashing the military budget, it would appear the potential savings are enormous?

  • by BarefootClown (267581) on Thursday October 20, 2011 @11:26AM (#37776874) Homepage

    Ahem. "The Congress shall have Power To..." is authority, not a mandate. The Congress can choose not to exercise its power in a given area if it wishes. In fact, in some circumstances, the fact that Congress has chosen not to legislate may itself be considered a form of regulation, and not subject to further regulation by the states.

  • by MyFirstNameIsPaul (1552283) <myfirstnameispaul@gmail.com> on Thursday October 20, 2011 @11:26AM (#37776888) Homepage Journal

    Intel, HP, Apple, Xerox, Edison Electric Light Company, Standard Oil (they reduced the cost of kerosene by 80%), Ford, etc, didn't come from public anything.

    Second, the states can pick up any of these 'profitable' public enterprises that Paul is proposing to be thrown out.

  • by jo_ham (604554) <joham999@noSPaM.gmail.com> on Thursday October 20, 2011 @11:26AM (#37776892)

    Well, they could take off tiny, tiny sliver of the defence budget. That would pay off all the money borrowed to fund parks, energy research, public education and roads.

    Just a thought.

    "We must tighten our belts! We must slash spending! No more waste!"

    "Ok, how about we cut this thing that has doubled in cost since 9/11 for no real tangible benefits...."

    "No! Cutting defence spending is unamerican! Slashing Planned Parenthood's spending will solve the problem once and for all!"

    "But they only account for 0.01% of the budg....."

    "I said once and for all!"

  • by demonlapin (527802) on Thursday October 20, 2011 @11:26AM (#37776894) Homepage Journal
    I'd rather have my local affairs run... locally. And by my state rather than the feds. So what if they don't choose perfectly? At least I'm not stuck trying to get 60 votes in the US Senate to overturn ideas that don't work.
  • by h4rr4r (612664) on Thursday October 20, 2011 @11:27AM (#37776912)

    Because otherwise we will have "Teachers" teaching kids about how Jesus rode around on dinosaurs and how the gays are the products of Satan.

  • by SlippyToad (240532) on Thursday October 20, 2011 @11:27AM (#37776914)

    Ron paul's economic ideas are head-crushingly, fucking stupid.

    There is no practical acknowledgement of the role of government in his world-view. He's one of those fucking crazy idiots who thinks that economies magically regulate themselves. We've got 30 years of history demonstrating that he and all libertarian fetishists are DEAD WRONG regarding that subject.

    Why the fuck is anyone listening to this doddering old fool?

  • by Attila Dimedici (1036002) on Thursday October 20, 2011 @11:28AM (#37776956)
    So, if the Federal government does not do it, the only other choice is for the private sector to do it? You mean the states can't do any of this stuff?
  • by NeutronCowboy (896098) on Thursday October 20, 2011 @11:34AM (#37777148)

    Because North Dakota benefits from having a California that doesn't get devastated by tsunamis or earthquakes. The same way that the world benefited from Japan not being completely flooded by a Tsunami.

  • by boristdog (133725) on Thursday October 20, 2011 @11:35AM (#37777156)

    I'm saying that local entities are only responsible to their local constituents. If a local entity is 100% in charge, they can let their section of the road go 100% to ruin if they don't want it there. And everyone else can just go suck eggs because anything else would be socialism!

    My county has about 25 miles of an interstate through the northern section where almost NO ONE in the county lives. Maybe 1% of the county population regularly uses that road. If the county residents were suddenly tasked with the cost of the maintenance on that section of interstate our county taxes would probably double. Do you think most people in the county would vote for that? Nope, hardly any of us ever use that road. Goodbye freeway system.

  • by siride (974284) on Thursday October 20, 2011 @11:36AM (#37777200)

    The spending problem isn't NOAA or NIST, it's "entitlements" and defense. TFA mentions NOAA's $4.5 billion budget. For the services it provides, that's a pretty damn good bang for your buck. Axing NOAA would do about nothing for the national debt, but would cost us dearly in terms of weather data and services. You could axe every single non-defense discretionary spending agency and still end up with a decent deficit. Why go after the parts of the government that actually do a good job and provide useful services? What a fucking dumb idea. Seriously.

  • by tbannist (230135) on Thursday October 20, 2011 @11:36AM (#37777218)

    I'm sure the people that live along that very geologically active strip of turf will be happy to know that Ron Paul considers them essentially expendable in his quest for ideological purity.

    That is simply untrue and completely preposterous. To make such baseless accusations, you should be ashamed of yourself. We all know that Ron Paul considers everyone to be expendable in his quest for ideological purity.

  • by mspohr (589790) on Thursday October 20, 2011 @11:41AM (#37777324)
    HP, Apple and Xerox were all built on the foundation of US Government financed research and development of semiconductors and computer systems.

    Edison Electric Light Company made extensive use of public owned right of ways.

    The price of kerosene dropped 80% during Standard Oil's reign primarily due to increased supply from drilling on (mostly) public lands. Who knows how much more it would have dropped if there had been a free market rather than a monopoly in charge.

    Ford benefits from massive public investment in road and bridge infrastructure. Ford didn't build any roads or bridges.

    So... tell me again where would we be without the public sector?

  • by MikeB0Lton (962403) on Thursday October 20, 2011 @11:42AM (#37777368)
    I am of the opinion that many federal departments are formed to manipulate state functions through legal wrangling and finance, like threatening to pull funding of highways if the state doesn't prohibit alcohol to people under the age of 21. While I agree with that example in principal, it was a shady way to implement it. I'm now a big fan of small federal government, and large state.
  • by mr1911 (1942298) on Thursday October 20, 2011 @11:43AM (#37777374)
    You just made a great argument for eliminating the federal government agencies that redistribute wealth amongst the states.
  • by sarhjinian (94086) on Thursday October 20, 2011 @11:50AM (#37777612)

    Butbutbut, all the little things add up! (Yes, they do. To a rounding error in the budgets of Defense or Medicare/Medicaid).

    So, if this privatization stuff is such hot shit, let's privatize the military as well. I'm sure that'll work out just fine! I mean, if it's evil socialism to heal, feed and clothe people, it must be worse to publicly fund killing them, right?

    Hell, on a related (hypocritical) note, Ron Paul, bastion of freedom, independence and libertarian wankery, seems to have no problem shilling for Federal public funds to deal with coastal damage in his own district. I'm sure, though, that he'd refuse funds to keep rising coastal waters from washing Galevston out to sea.

    Typical libertarian nonsense: it's all waste and graft, unless it's my pet interest, then it's an essential part of the social contract. It's a movement that's just as delusional as Communism.

  • Re:Ron Paul... (Score:2, Insightful)

    by roman_mir (125474) on Thursday October 20, 2011 @12:10PM (#37778152) Homepage Journal

    He is not cutting enough. He is not cutting in time.

    AFAIC it's a good start, but its FAR from perfect. He needs to cut 3 Trillion in ONE year, not 1 Trillion. He needs to have the budget balanced in 2 years, not in 3.

    But this is a START. We must start somewhere. IRS must also be shut down, by the way, he is not even talking about that right now unfortunately.

    Freddie/Fannie, FHA, HUD, FDA, FAA, EPA, CIA, FBI, dep't of energy, education, agriculture, business and it is STILL NOT ENOUGH.

    He can't rely on attrition, he needs to FIRE 10 MILLION people right away, in the FIRST year from the gov't. He needs to fire 10 MORE MILLION in the next year.

    And this is STILL NOT ENOUGH.

    He needs to REDUCE the size of military industrial complex by LETTING GO of 75% of military. AND EVEN THAT IS NOT ENOUGH.

    He needs to abolish all of the business and labor regulations. EVENT THAT IS NOT ENOUGH.

    He needs to get rid of all of this nonsense - so called 'civil rights' bullshit, which is nothing more than a bunch of entitlements for some and obligations for others.

    AND EVEN THAT IS NOT ENOUGH.

    All of the gov't involvement into business must stop. There must be no more subsidies to any business.

    SS and Medicare MUST SHUT DOWN. No more minimum wage, no more gov't involvement into any unions.

    The only money is gold.

    Once he does all of that, finally it will be enough, but not good enough to make sure that it does not return.

    He needs to ensure that none of this stuff returns. The Constitution needs amendments to PREVENT future governments from returning back with any of this nonsense.

    It's only enough, when the gov't knows its place - in the gutters. The place of gov't is in the gutters. Gov't cannot be trusted.

    Gov't must not be trusted.
    Gov't cannot be allowed to regulate any business.
    Gov't cannot be allowed to prevent any liberties, it must be FORCED to PROTECT liberties and private property and contract law, otherwise the gov't is not just impotent at its direct job, it's detrimental to the society.

    All of gov't functions must be severely limited by a very specific Constitutional change that would put an end to all of the above activities not just at this point, but for a long long time (until they inevitably figure out a way around it, as they always do, but then at least another 2-3 hundred years will pass and it will be up to the future population to fix their own problems created by the cracking gov't force.)

  • by Curunir_wolf (588405) on Thursday October 20, 2011 @12:28PM (#37778608) Homepage Journal

    And members, aside from Paul, of those two parties with plans of their own are fairly common. Particularly, Republican incumbents and/or candidates for federal office with plans that involve dismantling large parts of the US federal government are easier to find than those without such plans.

    Yes, there are a lot of politicians that will lie about what they will do in office (or make excuses about why they didn't do it before, but after the next election they will). The difference is that Ron Paul's voting record actually matches what he says.

  • Re:Dept of Edu (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Taevin (850923) on Thursday October 20, 2011 @12:31PM (#37778664)
    Is this a joke? Education correlates positively with productive value for society and negatively with burden on society. Put simply, without society paying for childhood education we'll be left with a bunch of drooling half-wits that cost us way more to support than it would to simply give them a K-12 education. If you must see it that way, it's very much self-serving to educate children. In all likelihood, I will never have children of my own so I'm not even talking about it from that angle. Someday when I'm old the current batch of students will be running things and personally, I'd like it if they were at least semi-functional insofar as the average human can be.

    There, no moral discussion needed (a blessing since any that puts "moral right" and "fruit of someone else's labor" in the same sentence will always devolved into some mind-bending justification for how it is noble to exploit human beings).
  • by gtall (79522) on Thursday October 20, 2011 @12:40PM (#37778876)

    "There shouldn't be any US gov't financed research and development." Yep, who the hell needs research on drugs for non-profitable disorders.

    "There shouldn't be any public property and so there shouldn't be any public owned 'right of ways'." Yep, the interstate system was a tremendous boondoggle, no one made a dime off using it.

    "There shouldn't be any subsidies to any oil drilling, all of it should be private and all land / sea should be private, so all of this drilling would bear full costs." No shit, we need to fish them damn oceans dry before anyone thinks of conservation. If the free market doesn't value it, it has no value.

    "There shouldn't be any public infrastructure, including highways and bridges." Damn straight, you should pay to drive anywhere.

    "There shouldn't BE a public sector outside of border protection, individual liberties/property protection and criminal/contract law." Yer right, who needs NSTA keeping them planes from falling out of the sky, Business School Product are very able to put a price on how many should die before it starts to crimp profits. And that housing bubble should be allowed to occur over and over again, we still have industries that haven't been decimated yet. Clean air and water? Crap, who needs it except a bunch of poor people, let'em buy their own clean air if they want clean air.

    Jeezes you are a moron.

  • They pay (Score:4, Insightful)

    by publiclurker (952615) on Thursday October 20, 2011 @12:40PM (#37778880)
    because the rest of us pay for their tornado monitoring. Just because you can only think of yourself does not mean that the civilized members of society know how to do whats best for the entire group. Hopefully you'll realize this when you grow up.
  • by mbkennel (97636) on Thursday October 20, 2011 @12:55PM (#37779188)

    "Because lord knows without the Fed.gov no one would ever have bothered to build computers (and all base technologies) and it is only through the guiding light that is the government that such miracles could be wrought."

    Government sponsored basic R&D and early-stage development make such miracles much faster. And many miracles depend on lots of other miracles already happening. Some product or idea may have commercial applications but depends on another advance which, in its original stage only had military application.

    "Do you really believe that no one would have bothered coming up with semiconductors and all that if there hadn't been a fed.gov market for it? Really? "

    There wouldn't have been anywhere near the money and intensity of development. Almost all the semiconductor physics advances from 1945 to 1980's were sponsored by Bell Labs, universtities, IBM (who had huge military contracts for the most advanced systems of course) and military funding and military contracts. At that time Bell Labs counted economically as a government agency---in return for being granted the telephone system monopoly, Bell had to spend a large amount of money on R&D.

  • by ExploHD (888637) on Thursday October 20, 2011 @01:32PM (#37780240)
    For the same reason that the people in California help pay for flood monitoring
    http://nd.water.usgs.gov/floodtracking/ [usgs.gov]
  • by Overzeetop (214511) on Thursday October 20, 2011 @02:36PM (#37781540) Journal

    And there are lots of US citizens who have property and part time residences there.

    And it makes us a good neighbor. Just because you're nice to somebody doesn't make you a tree-hugging, money-spending, tax-and-spend liberal. Just as home schooling your kids doesn't make you a evangelist-christian, gun-totin', xeno-and-homophobic conservative.

  • by ljhiller (40044) on Thursday October 20, 2011 @03:49PM (#37782870)
    How are the people of North Dakota supposed to ship their wheat to China when a tsunami takes out a west coast shipping port?

    Alright, I want every small-government proponent to make a list of 100 things they want to fund, personally? Take a moment, I'll wait. Was drought-proof wheat on your list? Probably not. Do you need drought-proof wheat? If you don't what to be buying your food from Siberia, you sure do. Is there incentive to develop drought-proof wheat? There sure is. Is anybody going to follow that incentive? No. Why? Because it wasn't on your list or anybody else's. You didn't think of it. Or you (wrongly) believe it's not important. Or that somebody else will do it. Who funds drought-proof wheat research? Department of Agriculture research programs.

    Alright, now, I want you to make a time budget. How many hours in a day are you going to spend evaluating who should receive your private funding. And be sure you do your research, we don't want Solyndra fraudsters getting it. The DC bureaucrats do this all day, but now YOU have to do it. What's that, you want to delegate it? To a company that takes your money and decides for you, and keeps a chunk of it for itself? Sounds familiar?

    Oh but your system is voluntary. Except you don't actually have time to do it.

    Do you really WANT to pay the free-market cost of education? Do you want everybody else to? Just how many burger flippers and drug dealers do you think this society can support? Do you want your cancer operated on by somebody who learned from Khan Academy of Medicine on Youtube?

    Do you want clean water? Do you think there are incentives for private companies to keep water clean? Environmental protection is expensive, it's true. Turns out making small settlements and dragging out legal cases with in-house council is a lot less. The true incentive is to not keep the water clean. You live in a free society, but your child is DEAD. Oh well.

Dennis Ritchie is twice as bright as Steve Jobs, and only half wrong. -- Jim Gettys

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