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The public sector in direst need of reform is ...

Displaying poll results.
  4408 votes / 32%
  3135 votes / 23%
Law Enforcement / Corrections
  1757 votes / 12%
Infrastructure / Public Works
  963 votes / 7%
Science / Space R&D
  913 votes / 6%
  1200 votes / 8%
  491 votes / 3%
Other, explained below
  691 votes / 5%
13558 total votes.
[ Voting Booth | Other Polls | Back Home ]
  • Don't complain about lack of options. You've got to pick a few when you do multiple choice. Those are the breaks.
  • Feel free to suggest poll ideas if you're feeling creative. I'd strongly suggest reading the past polls first.
  • This whole thing is wildly inaccurate. Rounding errors, ballot stuffers, dynamic IPs, firewalls. If you're using these numbers to do anything important, you're insane.
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The public sector in direst need of reform is ...

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  • by billstewart (78916) on Tuesday May 07, 2013 @11:20PM (#43661615) Journal

    It's not like law enforcement and the prison business aren't also in drastic need of reform; there's no excuse for the US to have more people in jail than the Soviet Union did. But all the world's militaries are making their own countries worse for their own people, making them worse for their enemies, forcing their neighbors to beef up their militaries, and the US and Russia are still threatening to blow up the world with nuclear weapons. Militaries are an excuse for governments to have power over their own people, and to give lucrative contracts to their politically connected friends, and defense contractors are happy to contribute to whatever politicians will give them the most business, regardless of how bad they are on other topics.

    There are a few countries out there without armies. Costa Rica got rid of theirs back in the 1800s, not because they're any more peace-loving than everybody else, but because their president realized that the primary functions of a Latin American military were to steal land from the Indians (already done!) and to overthrow the civilian president (which he didn't want to happen to him.) Most of the others are countries in civil war, where there's no single official army.

  • No contest, surely. (Score:2, Informative)

    by real-modo (1460457) on Tuesday May 07, 2013 @11:28PM (#43661671)

    Health. The USA gets worse outcomes with twice the GDP expenditure of any other OECD country.

  • by OzPeter (195038) on Tuesday May 07, 2013 @11:55PM (#43661841)

    Health. The USA gets worse outcomes with twice the GDP expenditure of any other OECD country.

    Yeah .. but without education how will the locals know how misplaced is their belief that the US is the best country in the world?

  • by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday May 08, 2013 @04:33AM (#43663007)

    I voted based on my own country's need for education reform, not the US's. The polls really should be either more specific, or less US-specific.

  • by Geoffrey.landis (926948) on Wednesday May 08, 2013 @09:16AM (#43664235) Homepage

    But the problems with our health spending are not primarily in the public sector. Those other countries that have more efficient healthcare than we do have more of their healthcare run by the government, and there's a fairly strong correlation between cost effectiveness and government control. Within the US, the the government is generally more cost effective than the private sector. Within the government sector, the most efficient provider is the VA, which runs its own hospitals rather than just being a glorified insurance company. There's every reason to think that our healthcare system would be improved by turning more of it over to the government.

    I'm sorry, can you please give an example where the government is more cost effective than the private sector?

    Sure: health care,

    Uh, didn't you actually read the post you are responding to?

  • by Newander (255463) on Wednesday May 08, 2013 @09:37AM (#43664409)

    Not sure about the other two examples, but you can't ship anything using UPS or FedEx for $0.44. In fact the USPS is so efficient that both FedEx and UPS use it for last mile service in many cases.

  • by Archangel Michael (180766) on Wednesday May 08, 2013 @12:27PM (#43665903) Journal

    If the government fixed itself, the other things that the government is in charge of would get fixed. Problem is, too many people "believe" in the political "process", when it clearly hasn't worked.

    Moving the power from Federal, to local would help, rather than the current trend of the other way around.

  • by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday May 08, 2013 @01:01PM (#43666301)

    I'd probably start with law enforcement and prison reform, which would make it easier to work on up the chain:

    The big problem we have in the US is that we have companies making cash from punishing people. In fact 48 states have an agreement promising 90% bed occupancy rates in their prisons/jails, or they pay fines by the day. The money going to those firms then goes to lobbyists, and then campaigns. If you are a judge in most of the US, you are forced to convict in cases, or your opponent next election cycle will be sitting in your seat.

    First thing: Those prison contracts are not going away; they are too ingrained in our culture now. However, if the contract states a prison, it can be amended for a similar cost, but for a school, a library, or some other needed facility. That way the private companies still get paid, but are building something useful other than warehouses. If they get paid on getting kids to attend and graduate just as they get paid for kids to be locked up, it will be a win/win/win situation all around.

    Second thing: Training. German police get six years of training. They essentially have master's degrees in criminal justice. English police get a year of hand to hand training. The US with its 80 hours of shooting practice and cuffing and stuffing is pathetic, and can escalate situations. Police need trained in being able to stop a situation with commands alone. Not wielding a firearm, shotgun, or taser stun gun as the first line of defense. In other countries, an arrest is a police officer saying, "come with me". No ritual of handcuffing and zip ties.

    Start with those two things (better training of LEOs and having the private prisons turn into contracted schools and libraries), and that will help remedy a lot of the US's problems.

  • by rgmoore (133276) <> on Wednesday May 08, 2013 @02:39PM (#43667367) Homepage

    You do realize that that cost is heavily subsidized by the government?

    No, he doesn't realize that because it isn't true. USPS does not receive any tax subsidy. It is currently running an accounting deficit, but only because it's being required by law to pre-fund health and retirement benefits for the next 75 years in the span of a decade. If USPS wasn't being required to fund retirement for employees who haven't been born yet, it would be in fine financial shape.

  • by rgmoore (133276) <> on Wednesday May 08, 2013 @05:29PM (#43669165) Homepage

    No, the Post Office does not get $100 million per year in funding. It is legally required to provide certain services at no cost to the recipients, and Congress appropriates money to make up for the costs. In any case, that's a drop in the bucket compared to the total cost of running the Post Office, not a massive subsidy.

    And then there are all the ways that the Post Office is required to subsidize other people. They're required to deliver mail to the whole country at a fixed cost, rather than charging different rates according to the actual cost of delivery or refusing to deliver to out-of-the-way places that aren't cost effective. They have to deliver mail for Congress for free, which many Congresspeople abuse. The Post Office is actually very efficient.

  • by Kongming (448396) on Wednesday May 08, 2013 @11:21PM (#43671765)

    As an aside - and please don't take this as a personal attack, because it isn't - whenever I hear the phrase "Military-Industrial Complex" I always hear it in some hippie's voice and add a "DUDE!" or "MAN!" onto the end.

    One such hippie: former Republican president of the U.S., General Dwight D. Eisenhower. From his farewell address:

    In the councils of government, we must guard against the acquisition of unwarranted influence, whether sought or unsought, by the military-industrial complex. The potential for the disastrous rise of misplaced power exists and will persist.

    YouTube []
    Transcript []

You can fool all the people all of the time if the advertising is right and the budget is big enough. -- Joseph E. Levine


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