Neutering the Watchdog

The Associated Press finds that as inspectors general in the federal government get better at exposing waste, fraud and ineptitude within their respective agencies, they tend to lose influence, the tools they need to investigate, or the elimination of their offices.

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    And this is why a cabinet-level Inspector General of the US is essential. Who will watch the watchers- and, moreover, protect them?

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    You right wing anti-government fanatics can go fuck yourselves. Most people love paying taxes.

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    I'm quite surprised that David Walker hasn't been muzzled. Yet.

  • Warren||

    If only more people gave a rats ass.

  • :-||

    It's always funny when some smartypants accuses the inmates here of being right-wing. More rabid anti-Republicans may be found only in the offices of Mother Jones.

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    Apparently, that rabid anti-Republican sentiment extends up to, but not including, mentioning that this story describes the suppression in question as a development that has occured under the current administration.

    The universal prescription about what happens to inspector generals, written up as if describing a univeral truth rather than a series of discreet events, is Balko's own take on the article, which is much less circumspect in laying the blame.

  • Guy Montag||

    Yea, this is why the latest concensus in the scientific community is being silenced even as we speak.

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    Guy,

    I get it. Climate researchers are like UFO researchers because climate researchers assume the existence of a climate, and UFO researchers assume the existence of UFOs. Brilliant!

    Maybe someday I'll be enough of a fair-minded skeptic to question whether there really is an atmosphere.

  • Guy Montag||

    joe,

    There will always be UFOs, at least there will be until we can identify every flying object with a casual glance. Try reading the article as written instead of using your silly biases.

    Now, if you would stop with your nonsense and help out with that moon puzzle you might actually be able to contribute something to society besides a bunch of juvenile carping.

  • Gimme Back My Dog||

    joe,

    you make a good point, but I think Balko's interpretation shows an anti-government bias rather than pro-republican. I can see how someone with your point of view, that government is basically good and we just have the wrong people heading it now, could make this mistake.

    Trust me, in 2009, he is going to be blaming these things on Government and not singling out President Obama for blame.

  • Guy Montag||

    Gimme Back My Dog,

    Give me a break! Just because joe ignores the evidence of extraterrestrials does not make it so and he never claimed it to be a partisan issue anyway.

  • ||

    GBMD,

    I agree. In a sense, he is blaming society instead of individuals when those individuals behave badly.

    BTW, I do believe government is inherently good. I belive, like Aquinas, that a thing is neither good not bad, but it is how we use it that makes it so.

    If President Obama is responsible for some corruption in 2009, the the future Mr. Balko should lay the blame at this feet, and not describe the most powerful people running our government as helpless to control it, or themselves, because of its incentive structure.

    Guy,

    Once again, brilliant! That works so well, because the evidence of UFOs and the evidence of global warming are so very similar.

  • ||

    Er, that should read "I do not believe government is inherently good."

    Just as people primarily interested in fighting racism tend to see their opponents as being motived by the polar opposite (rather than by their own set of beliefs unrelated to racism), so do advocates of small government make a mistake in attributing their opponents' positions to a support for big government.

    All else being equal, I prefer less government to more. The complication is, all else isn't equal, and in some cases, more government furthers those values that do matter to me more than less government would.

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    "The universal prescription about what happens to inspector generals, written up as if describing a univeral truth rather than a series of discreet events, is Balko's own take on the article, which is much less circumspect in laying the blame."

    *WTF?*

  • uncle sam||

    more government furthers those values that do matter to me more than less government would.

    Do you have any stats on that, or do you take it on faith?
    Which values?

  • ||

    uncle sam,

    I measure the advancement of my values in "joe units."

    Decades of research demonstrate that the Pell Grant program advanced univeral access to education 35.7 joe units per annum between 1986 and 1997.

    Happy?

  • ||

    Joe, man, call me stupid, but I swear I have to read your posts at least twice before I get the point (at least your first post). Could ya dumb 'em down for us simple folks?

  • uncle sam||

    Decades of research demonstrate that the Pell Grant program advanced univeral access to education 35.7 joe units per annum between 1986 and 1997.

    Compared to an alternate universe lacking Pell grants and the corresponding large government to provide them.

  • ||

    Decades of research demonstrate that the Pell Grant program advanced univeral access to education 35.7 joe units per annum between 1986 and 1997.

    What about access to pot and cd's? That's where mine went. Oh, and thanks for pitching in everybody. Nothing like free money.

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    "Nothing like free money."

    Uh huh- and that "free" money gets imbedded in the underlying cost structure of whatever market the government chooses to meddle in. Meanwhile, people wonder why college tuition costs rise faster than the rate of inflation.
    There was a newspaper article recently (sorry, no link) on the topic of farm subsidies, and the writer actually stated that those subsidy payments are reflected in the cost of the land; without crop subsidies in their various forms, the price of farm/ ranch land would "collapse." Which would, of course, be "bad."
    Mortgage interest deduction? Don't get me started.

  • ||

  • grylliade||

    Apparently, that rabid anti-Republican sentiment extends up to, but not including, mentioning that this story describes the suppression in question as a development that has occured [sic] under the current administration.

    And? See, joe, that kind of proves the point of smaller government. You don't give the government the power that it wants, not because the best people will misuse it, but because the worst people will. Giving the government the power to solve every ill that you can come up with only works if good people are elected to office. In a democracy, it is certain that sooner or later someone will be elected who shouldn't have been. In that case, you will be thankful for all the limits placed on government power, as we are now, rather than cursing those limits as preventing more good from being done.

    Bush isn't an aberration; he's the expected outcome, sooner or later.

    BTW, I do [not] believe government is inherently good. I belive [sic], like Aquinas, that a thing is neither good not bad, but it is how we use it that makes it so.

    Again, just the point I made above. Government is, in and of itself, neither good nor bad, but what the people we put in charge of it make it. But most libertarians (quite aside from the moral arguments) believe that the harm done by a bad president will far outweigh the good done by a good one. So you place strict limits on the government's power, even knowing that the good done by government will also be limited thereby.

    And that's not even to touch the issue that politicians suck. Either they're the type to misuse their office for their own good, or if they want to do good they are so convinced of their own rightness that nothing will stop them. The latter is the scarier type; there's a limit to how far someone will go for his own benefit, but often there's no limit to how far someone will go for the benefit of others. It's one of the most noble impulses of humanity, subverted to one of the most disgusting uses.

  • grylliade||

    And joe, just to make sure that you know I'm not some sort of Republican lapdog: I think Bush should be impeached and removed from office for his abuses of power, just as Clinton and Reagan should probably both have been removed from office.

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    Just as people primarily interested in fighting racism tend to see their opponents as being motived by the polar opposite (rather than by their own set of beliefs unrelated to racism), so do advocates of small government make a mistake in attributing their opponents' positions to a support for big government.

    Hmmm... that's a good point. Oftentimes you say things that are downright sensible. Then you go and say things like this:

    "The complication is, all else isn't equal, and in some cases, more government furthers those values that do matter to me more than less government would."

    What value is more important than being able to live one's life free from government coersion? Do tell.

    (Perhaps living free from server squirrel interference)

  • uncle sam||

    I think the argument that political government is definitively bad.

    1. It functions through extortion.
    2. It is a manifestation of tribal instincts.
    3. The office holders and bureaucracies are relatively immune to market feedback.
    4. It appeals to those who have no issue with disposing of the live, wealth, and dreams of the governed.
    5. It socializes the costs of granting favors and subsidy such that the benieficiaries of same have greater incentive to affect the political process than the payers have to resist such perversions.
    6. It appeals to elites and gives politicos an elite status.
    7. It enables people to violate the rights of others without risk to themselves.
    8. It obscures the cost of so-called government benefits from those who pay for it.
    9. It encourages people to expect someone esle to take care of them.
    10. It reduces the ruled to mere citizen units in the proliticians' balance sheets.
    11. It requires the manipulation of citizens to gain support for this or that and foments social resentment and strife by the encouragement of competing manipulators.
    12. The state pits each individual against the collective of everybody else.

    Anyone else?

  • uncle sam||

    edit "I think the argument can be made that political government is definitively bad.

  • Guy Montag||

    Once again, brilliant! That works so well, because the evidence of UFOs and the evidence of global warming are so very similar.

    Actually, evidence of exterresterials and anthropoligical global warming are identical.

  • ||

    grylliade,

    Nothing you wrote suggests that you are anything but a libertarian true believer.

    andy,

    The question isn't Value A vs. Value B, but what balance to strike that maximizes your overall well-being. Is having a system of protectin property rights worth the government coercion of paying for a judiciary?

    Guy,

    Please stop that. I'm smug enough with your help.

  • uncle sam||

    Is having a system of protectin property rights worth the government coercion of paying for a judiciary?

    In the short term, that would seem appropriate, but in the longer term, having a system with the power to make you pay for a service whether you benefit from it or not, gives you a system that can make you pay for anything that anyone with sufficient motive and means can subvert for their own benefit.
    Hence subsidies to business, foreign aid, warfare, etc.

    So, my answer is no.

    Courts can and should be paid for directly by those whose behavior require its existence.

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    Government is, quite simply, that organization that can kill people without threatening or being threatened by the social order.

    It is an open question whether a government is needed in any particular society. But when you say, "Government is required to solve this problem," what you are really saying is, "An organization that can kill people without threatening or being threatened by the social order is required to solve this problem."

    When you imagine something that government should be empowered to do, let the gravity of that phrasing provide at least some limit...

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    Thieves and Bungler's don't like to be found out, neither do Roaches! I would much rather have roaches though...

  • ||

    Decades of research demonstrate that the Pell Grant program advanced univeral access to education 35.7 joe units per annum between 1986 and 1997.

    So we are sending more and more people to college... of course, college education in the process gets dumbed down with grade inflation, we have most of the students taking things like Law, Women's Studies, etc., that are not fufilling any real societal need. Americans are getting dumber and dumber when it comes to basic science, mathmatics, logic, foriegn languages, and geography. Americans have more and more education, yet fewer and fewer Americans can even name all the branches of the federal government, or a single foriegn head of state.

    And, at the same time, people are starting young adulthood saddled with debt... and people studying fields that the U.S. has a relative shortage of and might actually increase the common welfare (engineering, science, medicine, etc.) have a difficult time paying for their education because they are competing for scarce educational resources with millions of students who want to join a frat, drink beer, and get a bachelers in Psychology?

    So yeah, I mean if having a generation of students who learned that the CIA assasinated Kennedy in their American Government class as if it was undisputed fact (and are shown Oliver Stone's J.F.K. in class), but never learned the branches of the U.S. government or how a bill becomes a law or how the electorial college works, then Pell Grants are doing a great job. If you mean having a generation of people who can't balance their check books, or do basic high school mathmatics, and think Time magazine is "real journalism" but have taken 12 credit hours of "Enviornmental Awareness" is a good and desirable thing for America, then yeah, I guess Pell Grants rock!

  • uncle sam||

    13. Replaces charity with welfare.
    14. Displaces morality with legality.
    15. Scum rises to the top.

  • ||

    16. "Political power grows out of the barrel of a gun." - Mao Tse Tung

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