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

Displaying poll results.
Education
  4408 votes / 32%
Healthcare
  3135 votes / 23%
Law Enforcement / Corrections
  1757 votes / 12%
Infrastructure / Public Works
  963 votes / 7%
Science / Space R&D
  912 votes / 6%
Military
  1200 votes / 8%
Environment
  491 votes / 3%
Other, explained below
  691 votes / 5%
13557 total votes.
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  • 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 rgmoore (133276) <glandauer@charter.net> on Wednesday May 08, 2013 @01:13AM (#43662223) 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.

  • law enforcement (Score:4, Insightful)

    by JimboFBX (1097277) on Wednesday May 08, 2013 @02:51AM (#43662649)

    Law enforcement and the justice system needs an overhaul. Long delays for trials, a system where you must show up in person to defend trivial offenses or even ENTER YOUR PLEA, even if you don't live in the same state, one where your own state won't help defend you but they'll help arrest you for outstanding warrants or FTAs. That's a system where it can be more expensive to defend your innocence than to falsely admit guilt. One where you can call up a clerk and they literally won't give any assistance at all because "they aren't allowed to give legal advice". A system so complex and full of contradictions you need a degree to understand it, and even then a lot of it is up to interpretation. A system where laws are intentionally set against social norms (speed limit) or are ridiculously outdated with the only purpose to rob people for the purpose of filling coffers (speed cameras in a school zone near a high school).

    The definition of highway robbery now means I got pulled over for doing something trivial that people violate on a daily basis (such as speeding when the flow of traffic is over the speed limit) and given a completely unfair and expensive ticket ($115 for 1 mph over the speed limit), rather than being robbed by actual criminals.

  • by PolygamousRanchKid (1290638) on Wednesday May 08, 2013 @03:45AM (#43662821)

    Not sure what public sector that is for Americans, but you guys gotta fix that shit...

    The laws for corporations in the US are made by folks in Congress. The folks in Congress are elected by the citizens of the US. However, the folks in Congress are paid by whichever corporation donated cash to their election campaign. So the corporations make the laws for corporations through proxies for themselves.

    Which is efficient because corporations know corporations best, so they know what laws are best for corporations . . .

    . . . um . . . that's kinda sorta right . . . isn't it . . . ?

    . . . do I get at least partial credit . . . ? The physics teacher gives me partial credit for writing down f=ma . . .

  • by danbert8 (1024253) on Wednesday May 08, 2013 @07:51AM (#43663707)

    I'm sorry, can you please give an example where the government is more cost effective than the private sector? I sure can't think of one. If the government is so much more cost effective than the private sector then their profit margins must be ridiculously high! Oh wait, they're in debt up to our eyeballs...

    Private education is cheaper and more effective than public education.
    Private charity is more effective with less funds than public handouts.
    UPS and FedEx are cheaper and faster (for comparable services) than the USPS.
    Need I go on?

  • by Dins (2538550) on Wednesday May 08, 2013 @09:56AM (#43664595)

    Ironically, here in Norway May 8. has since WWII been the Liberation Day, where we've celebrated the liberation of Norway from the nazis, and peace in general.

    We've never had any tradition for military parades etc. But for some reason they've now all of a sudden decided to put the Veterans Day on May 8. too. So now the Liberation day is full of military personell and vehicles all over the capital. I do agree the Veterans should have their day, but I do not think it fitting to choose the Liberation Day for that purpose.

    Weren't the veterans the ones who liberated you from the nazis?

  • by mhajicek (1582795) on Wednesday May 08, 2013 @01:41PM (#43666769)
    Peace time? What's that? We've always been at war with Eurasia!
  • by wirelessjb (806759) on Wednesday May 08, 2013 @03:04PM (#43667609)

    I'm sorry, can you please give an example where the government is more cost effective than the private sector? I sure can't think of one. If the government is so much more cost effective than the private sector then their profit margins must be ridiculously high! Oh wait, they're in debt up to our eyeballs...

    Private education is cheaper and more effective than public education. Private charity is more effective with less funds than public handouts. UPS and FedEx are cheaper and faster (for comparable services) than the USPS. Need I go on?

    I keep typing and erasing replies to this, knowing that my points won't hit home. As long as there are a lot of voters that believe that there is no place for government in providing services and investing in the future, things are not going to get better. The other fallacies in the quotation above are equally dismaying; the government doesn't provide services with a profit motive. Government debt is not inherently a bad thing (anyone who compares public debt to a credit card is ill informed). Public education and other services do not threaten private education or private donations, but believing that they are mutually exclusive is a red herring and dangerous. I'm in the USA, but I don't think these ideas are uniquely applicable to my country.

  • by Zordak (123132) on Wednesday May 08, 2013 @05:54PM (#43669407) Homepage Journal

    Government debt is not inherently a bad thing (anyone who compares public debt to a credit card is ill informed).

    Because we can just print more money to pay it off. Why, we can even mint 15 $1T coins and deposit them with the treasury, and Wham! There goes our debt. And fortunately, that has absolutely no effect on the value of the dollar, or the dollar's position as the international standard currency. And if there's one thing history teaches us, it's that no regime has ever fallen because it spent itself into mountainous debt that it was unable to crawl back out of.

  • by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday May 08, 2013 @06:39PM (#43669961)

    When schools in Tennessee and the Bible belt still teach that man and dinosuars coexisted, that the great flood killed the dinosaurs, that the earth is six thousand years old, and use religious texts as legitimate education tools, education needs some looking in to...

  • by wirelessjb (806759) on Wednesday May 08, 2013 @07:45PM (#43670541)
    A government without debt is a government that isn't investing in its future. Government debt is money that the public is borrowing from *themselves*. So it's not like an underwater mortgage, or a credit card. As long as a government balances its debt with the rate of inflation (which in the US, despite repeated cries of doom, has been at historic lows for a long time), the debt can serve to help drive the economy. If the inflation rate stays low, that means that creditors believe that the government is being responsible with the money, and will be willing to buy more debt. Debt can be a problem, but it's not one the US has to worry about any time soon. Now, unemployment, a stagnating education system, and a healthcare system that is both more expensive and less effective than other developed nations are issues worth addressing. And, frankly they can be addressed to some extent by borrowing more money. I'll sign off this debate after this comment... I think opinions on government services and debt are more like religious faith than considered opinions for most people, probably myself included.
  • by nbauman (624611) on Thursday May 09, 2013 @04:38AM (#43672893) Homepage Journal

    Yes, it's worth spending some time on the NAEP web site looking over the data. That is, if you like data, rather than fads and buzzwords.

    They've been testing since about 1972, as I recall. During that time, the results have been on a remarkably level curve, with a slight upward trend.

    One of the most striking trends is that the achievement of hispanic and especially black students has been going up dramatically, although it doesn't show up in the overall trend curves. So maybe all that affirmative action had some effect. Too bad we're going back to segregation again.

    Another interesting thing about the NAEP web site is their comparison of charter schools with public schools. The NAEP is one of the few testing organizations that has statistically and scientifically valid results. They found that charter schools were worse overall than public schools, although a few charter schools were better. (That's when you pick the charter schools that can be validly compared, not the ones that select their students, kick out the problem kids, and have gobs of money from right-wing foundations.)

    If you know this much, you probably know about Diane Ravitch, who was assistant secretary of education under both GHW Bush and Bill Clinton. Ravitch said that she started out believing that the solution was charter schools, privatization, high-stakes testing, and getting rid of the unions. But when she looked at the data, all those trendy conservative solutions weren't working. That's the difference between a scientist and an ideologue. A scientist admits it when she's wrong. An ideologue just gets more data to cherry-pick.

    Ravitch said that the one factor that most strongly affects educational achievement is family income. So you can throw out all these studies that don't correct for family income.

    If you want kids to succeed in school, you have to eliminate poverty, which was one of our national goals from about the time of FDR to GHW Bush. That all ended with Bill Clinton, and his End Welfare as we Know It sellout (Google "Peter Edelman"). So it's not a Democratic/Republican issue. Gee, funny thing, when politicians have to pander to billionaires and corporations in order to get money for their attack ads every election, the Democrats and Republicans both turn into scumbags.

    Maybe the great American education system of the second half of the 20th century was an anomaly. We won WWII in large part by science and technology, so after the war boosting science and technology education was actually patriotic. We were competing with the Soviets, who had one of the best education systems in the world, particularly in science. Now there's no public sentiment in the US for broad education any more. Those corporations don't need to put American kids through college. They can hire cheaper employees from abroad.

    Right now, the best way for a non-wealthy kid to get an education is to join the military. What does that tell you about America?

Those who do things in a noble spirit of self-sacrifice are to be avoided at all costs. -- N. Alexander.

 



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