Economics

Apres Le (La?) Stimulus, More Americans Would Still Prefer to Be Governed by Random People Pulled From the Phone Book Than Congress

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Rasmussen Reports is great reading. Its latest survey asked 1,000 likely voters whether they could do a better job than Congress in righting the economy. Americans are known for over-confidence, but I think what Mencken called The Great Boob Public is right on in this case:

67% Say They Could Do A Better Job On The Economy Than Congress

Forty-four percent (44%) voters also think a group of people selected at random from the phone book would do a better job addressing the nation's problems than the current Congress, but 37% disagree. Twenty percent (20%) are undecided.

The new Congress fares worse on this question that the previous Congress. Last October, just 33% said a randomly selected group of Americans would do a better job than the Congress then in session….

Since they no longer control either the Senate or the House, it's no surprise that a majority of Republicans (51%) say a group of people picked at random from the phone book would do a better job than the current Congress. But even more unaffiliated voters (56%) agree.

Democrats take the opposite view–49% of those in Nancy Pelosi's party say Congress today is better than a random group from the phone book. Just 28% disagree.

I am genuinely curious and concerned about the 33 percent who don't think they could do better than Congress on the economy.

And I think it is a sign of growing sanity that only 49 percent of Democrats "say Congress today is better than a random group from the phone book." That's like running for office and carrying less than of your family's vote.

Now all we need is a representative government and we'd be all set!

More here.

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  1. I wish I could claim I could do better but . . . I would probably descend into a cesspool of corruption and sleazy skanks as soon as I was given the office.

  2. Must be those yellow dog democrats. If you can’t do better than the Democrat Congress you have the IQ of a bottle of Ripple.

  3. Fuck, I’d just lock myself in my office with my free Hustlers.

  4. Well, selecting people at random is pretty much how the greeks did it.

  5. Yes, but don’t forget, the polls do consistently claim that people want a stimulus bill, just not this one.

    So unfortunately, I’m pretty sure that what we’d get out of a random assortment of people would also not be to libertarians’ liking.

  6. I think there has not been enough emphasis on, or study of, how stupid voters are vs the general public.

  7. The goverment is no longer listing to we the people. be it the idiots we keep electing into office or the fact that the gen pop has no clue what thier rights are/were and that it is thier duty to stand up for themselves, not mine yours or the gov.

  8. we do not need bailouts, we need responsibility, and contraction of the fed!

    First and foremost, we freeze the federal goverment. No new laws shall be made, no salaries shall be paid, its supposed to be a voulenteer job anyway, and no meetings shall take place execpt in the event of a direct attack on the mainland united states or hawaii/alaska.

    2. we dismantle all goverment programs, ALL then a task force of civilians form all aspects of life will convene to see what we need and return the goverment back to the people and states. During this time states continue to run as normal, since they are supposed to have the most power anyway.

    3. we close down and liquidate all forward bases that are not in a war zone, we do not need bases in england germany france etc etc etc.

    4. we leave iraqi to the iraqi’s and we destroy the taliban in afgan with full force, this should take 2 weeks, i said full force of the milt. the only way to go!

    5. we end the irs and go to a flat 5% tax + usage taxes.. if the fed can not run from 5% of GDP + usuage, then it must get smarter and smaller.

    6. we end the war on drugs and tax and regulate, since it is the #1 cash crop in AMerica for the past 5 years at least, this will bring in BILLIONS of tax money, save billions in law enforcement and jail costs, reduce crime and violence by ending the black market.

    7. we enforce the immagration laws, no new ones are needed, we just need to enforce what we already have. ( a common theme for me, as we really need no new laws, we can get by with very few if they are enforced!

    Thats just a start, feel free to add 🙂

  9. Might depend on which phone book, but the general population is clamoring for socialism.

  10. Forty-four percent (44%) voters also think a group of people selected at random from the phone book would do a better job addressing the nation’s problems than the current Congress

    A LOTTERY!

    It would be far more sensible and economically eficient than what we have now.

  11. Naga,

    If you were in congress you would rickroll the Anerican people. Which, okay, might be kinda funny, but it would get you assassinated too. And rightly so.

  12. Might depend on which phone book

    Im not sure I would trust anyone that still has a landline. Does anyone get their cell number listed in the book?

  13. SpongePaul,

    You had me till the immigration laws part. What’s wrong with open borders?

  14. I’m doing my part in the drive to conserve precious resources; I’m cutting back on “f”s.

  15. I would love to campaign using this as my support.

    The American people think that a random person out of the phonebook would govern better than our current Congress. Thought my number is unlisted, let me, Mo, be that random person.

  16. robc,

    What’s the government doing now that can’t be classified as a rickroll?

  17. Naga Sadow | February 11, 2009, 1:39pm | #

    SpongePaul,

    You had me till the immigration laws part. What’s wrong with open borders?
    ________________________________________________
    In therory, not a damn thing. Practically though, we need to make sure they are not criminals. i am for open immigration, anyone who is not a violent crimanal is welcome, you just have to become a citizen, thats all. the law should not allow illeagle, which it currently does not. but it should encourage legal, which at this moment i do not think it does.

  18. Might depend on which phone book, but the general population is clamoring for socialism.

    And they’ve been getting it good and hard for the last 50 years. Junkies ain’t ever satisfied.

  19. Criminals who have completed their sentences don’t need a fresh start?

  20. In therory, not a damn thing. Practically though, we need to make sure they are not criminals.

    Um, why? If they are here, that means they are not in jail, which means they are either

    a. Never convicted, and thus not criminals in a legal sense
    b. Released, which means they have paid their debt to whatever society they harmed

    or unbelievably unlikely

    c. escaped from prison in another country

    But somehow I don’t think you’re talking about “c”.

  21. Naga Sadow, you typed faster. Damn it.

  22. Elemenope,

    Short and concise beats long and thought out.

  23. SpongePaul,

    Here. This link will make our point.

  24. Well conducted studies show that people over-estimate their abilities.

    They also show that those who are less skilled are more likely to over-estimate their abilities, are less responsive to information about their relative ability compared to others, and do not recognize better performance as better when it is shown to them.

    So, the more zealous a person’s insistence when saying “I could do a better job” the better the chance that they are wrong. The person who says, “this is a complicated problem, I am not sure I could do any better” is the one that is more likely to actually do better.

  25. Short and concise beats long and thought out.

    Hence modern politics and media.

  26. Well, I’m for (mostly) open immigration, too. But there is a real threat of, say, hostile countries emptying their prisons into the US.

    IIRC, Castro did that when we granted blanket refugee status to anyone coming from Cuba.

  27. JW Gacy,

    That wasn’t just the beginning of Scarface?

  28. But there is a real threat of, say, hostile countries emptying their prisons into the US.

    Uh, says who?

  29. Here is the questiosn I would have included in the survey: How many monkeys with typewriters would it take to produce better legislation than the current congress?

  30. JW Gacy,

    Well . . . no. Underworld types are fantastic for intelligence gathering. They no who is corrupt, how to get around checkpoints, etc.

  31. Zeb,

    How much time would they be given?

  32. “The person who says, “this is a complicated problem, I am not sure I could do any better” is the one that is more likely to actually do better.”
    Which means that everyone in Congress should be disqualified for the job.

  33. NOBODY can do a good job of running the economy.

  34. Citizen Nothing,

    My flagrum and I say differently. Go ahead. Make my flagrum’s day!

  35. But Congress is composed of people who are good at winning elections; therefor, they are qualified to “fix” our economy.

    Q E D

  36. Citizen Nothing,

    1) Which means that everyone in Congress should be disqualified for the job.

    I am sure a solid majority of politicians fall into the “too certain to be competent” category.

    It also means that the randomly selected pool of people would probably in reality perform better. That would require, of course, forcing people to serve. I don’t like the draft-like implications of that.

    2) NOBODY can do a good job of running the economy.

    Although this hints at an over-zealous argument along the lines of “my understanding of the situation is better than average and therefore my ideas about a solution are correct,” I will point out that no one is being asked to “run the economy.”

    The government is a large player in the economy. The job before the congress is not “running the economy” but “setting government policy in a way that has the best economic effects that can be expected.” (to use a clunky construction).

  37. NOBODY can do a good job of running the economy.

    True.

    But as for the other functions of government, I’m starting to think that random phonebook idea is pretty good.

    It would be kind of like Jury duty. Get randomly selected and serve a term in congress. Not undemocratic either. Just a different kind of democracy.

    There would be no career politicians, for one thing. Probably a broader array of knowledge of different parts of the economy and society. Plus, a congress not dominated by lawyers would tend to write simpler laws, methinks.

    We already have elected politicians who started out as comedians, body builders, doctors, and engineers. So you can’t exactly complain that random selections would not be properly trained.

  38. NOBODY can do a good job of running the economy.

    A few billion people together can do an OK job.

  39. “I will point out that no one is being asked to “run the economy.” ”
    And yet they continue to try.

  40. How many monkeys with typewriters would it take to produce better legislation than the current congress?

    Three monkeys, six minutes.

  41. “this hints at an over-zealous argument along the lines of “my understanding of the situation is better than average…””

    As does your entire schtick, Neu.

  42. How much time would they be given?

    I was going to say as much time as congress takes to come up with a final version. But it occurs to me that a lot of this stuff was probably already written and ready to go, waiting for an appropriate crisis.

  43. This doesn’t require a poll. Millions of americans, acting individually in their own self interest will manage the economy better than congress. But I get it. That’s “old” thinking. We need new, fresh thinking. The kind of thinking that believes that central, top-down management of all matters economic (I foresee price and wage controls when this stimulus really turns the economy tits-up) will create an economic recovery.

  44. So sorry, “managing” the economy is one of those rights we retain in the people. The Constitution is rather clear on the lack of government control of the economy, too.

    Congress! Mr. President! Please resign for violating your oaths. Thank you.

  45. But Congress is composed of people who are good at winning elections; therefor, they are qualified to “fix” our economy.

    Q E D

    All that democracy really produces is more effective liars.

  46. “The person who says, “this is a complicated problem, I am not sure I could do any better” is the one that is more likely to actually do better.”

    I hope this doesn’t apply to building bridges or brain surgery.

  47. 2) NOBODY can do a good job of running the economy.

    Although this hints at an over-zealous argument along the lines of “my understanding of the situation is better than average and therefore my ideas about a solution are correct,” I will point out that no one is being asked to “run the economy.”

    Actually, no, I don’t see that at all. What it means is that nobody can do a good job of running the economy. Further translated: I don’t know how to run the economy either– because economies are too complex to be managed.

    I will point out that no one is being asked to “run the economy.”

    Define “no one” and define “run the economy”. Obama said “Only government can get us out of this crisis”. So at minimum Obama believes that only persons within the public sector can drive, steer, manage, what have you, the economy out of this “crisis”. Further, we know that Obama isn’t asking the undersecretary of of the Centers for Disease Control to get us out of this crisis. He’s placed a few departments, and ultimately, a couple of department heads in charge of “managing this crisis”. So I think that one can conclude that Obama believes that a select team of managers can in fact, manage the economy.

  48. I hope this doesn’t apply to building bridges or brain surgery.

    Building bridges isn’t so hard. You want the brains on the design end. Gusset plates, there is a good example.

  49. The 1 out of 5 people that are undecided fascinate me. Either they don’t know much about Congress or they are untrustworthy of being raped by their neighbors. I know quite a bit about Congress, I think, but I also know that my neighbors were dumb enough to elect those turds.

    But, since a random selection from the phone book means I might be selected, I’ll take my chances in that group. If anyone’s asking.

  50. Other Matt-

    I noticed on another thread that you wrote that Obama is a good orator. Do you want a do over on that comment? Did you listen to his press conference the other night? How many ums and you knows did you count?

    Obama is not a good orator. In fact, he is not very good at all-even with a prepared text and teleprompter.

    OTOH, his former pastor is a an outstanding orator.

  51. How many monkeys with typewriters would it take to produce better legislation than the current congress?

    What part of “All apes are created jK*090R+22;]\\jfP” don’t you understand?

  52. “Uh, says who?”

    Yo no, dijo el gato.

  53. Apes can’t type. This myth was put to rest after the Simianspeare research center closed its doors.

  54. I noticed on another thread that you wrote that Obama is a good orator. Do you want a do over on that comment? Did you listen to his press conference the other night? How many ums and you knows did you count?

    I did not listen to his press conference the other night. I did see that bit with the one kid, “Thank god!” and all that. That was so over the top I thought it was a joke. Seriously.

    So, without witnessing that particular performance, I will have to disagree. He has a remarkable ability to connect with people and lead them to a conclusion without actually committing to that conclusion. That is talent, and deserves recognition. The fact that he uses it to manipulate people is shameful in regards to my measure of personal honor.

  55. As long as we could have competent people with no hope of personal/professional/financial gains I would be happy.

    Shit! Drifted off into dream world again.

  56. But Congress is composed of people who are good at winning elections; therefor, they are qualified to “fix” our economy.

    Q E D

    By the same logic, a successful actor is quite qualified to lecture us all on political and social issues.

  57. What good is it if Paulson/Geitner is shoving the money down your throat, and Barney Frank is pulling it out of your ass?

  58. “It would be kind of like Jury duty. Get randomly selected and serve a term in congress. Not undemocratic either. Just a different kind of democracy.”

    That’s insane. Using that method you could end up with someone like Cynthia McKinney. Oh wait…

  59. Sorry, I guess that was a Freudian slip.

  60. I originally viewed this video at Urkobold(props to Pro Lib) and it is still relevant. No. It’s not a rick roll video.

  61. “What good is it if Paulson/Geitner is shoving the money down your throat, and Barney Frank is pulling it out of your ass?”

    I wouldn’t let that Frank fucker anywhere near my ass.

  62. “I wouldn’t let that Frank fucker anywhere near my ass.”

    I know, bad analogy. Should have used Pelosi.

  63. Using that method you could end up with someone like Cynthia McKinney.

    But think how much less often you would.

    If you confined your selection to residents of tent cities and sleeping bags under freeways, you’d only come up with someone that crazy about once every thousand years.

  64. Awesome Orbach-era law and order episode on involving the pitfalls of criminal informants and overzealous cops.

    So that’s out there.

  65. I am convinced we should pick congress randomly like we do juries. Maybe still elect Senators. But in the House, just randomly pick one registered voter from every District to serve a one time two year term. They would get a good salary and be gaurenteed by law to be able to return to their old job. It would be like being called up to active duty in the National Guard.

    Yeah you would get some nuts and crooks and some idiots. But the current sytem has given us John Murtha, Nancy Pelosi, and Charlie Rangle. Could my random system really do any worse? You would also get lots of smart dedicated people who would do their best to do the right thing, which is a lot better than what we have now.

  66. Naga, nobody trusts you for links anymore. You burnt the hell out of that bridge.

  67. Shun, shun!

  68. Set phasers to shun.

  69. “Could my random system really do any worse?”

    I’m thinking more along the lines of Selective Service – guns and all.

  70. If we can’t have random appointments, what about a certification process? A private-sector one, like UL. Call it Candidate Laboratories, if you like. CL will evaluate potential candidates and certify them as Safe, Unsafe, or Terminate with Extreme Prejudice.

  71. “If we can’t have random appointments, what about a certification process? A private-sector one, like UL. Call it Candidate Laboratories, if you like. CL will evaluate potential candidates and certify them as Safe, Unsafe, or Terminate with Extreme Prejudice.”

    That is a good idea accept that who is going to run the labs? In reality, the liberals would run the labs and people would get on the unsafe or terminate list for things like “owning a gun”, “once listened to Rush Limbaugh”, “once read an Ayn Rand book”, and “attended a non state approved church” and of course “once used illegeal drugs”.

  72. It’s private sector. If CL proves unreliable, the market will reject it.

  73. I am genuinely curious and concerned about the 33 percent who don’t think they could do better than Congress on the economy.

    They obviously didn’t hear Maxine Waters today, berating bank officials who have nothing to do with credit cards over credit card policies.

  74. Pro L,

    Your new firm will be made illegal under the 2009 Equality of Competence Act which will state no one may discriminate on the basis of whether someone knows what the fuck they’re doing.

  75. “I wouldn’t let that Frank fucker anywhere near my ass.”

    I know, bad analogy. Should have used Pelosi.

    Nope – I hear that bitch is into pegging.

  76. TallDave,

    You’re right, of course. CL would be banned the moment it started getting listened to by voters. Probably would violate McCain-Feingold or something.

  77. Who are these secretly brilliant but seemingly average people who were polled? Seriously, we really think there’s absolutely no skill involved in reading and writing the law? No special talent that prevents people from enacting laws with some really screwed-up unintended consequences? No experience with math, economics or budgeting necessary?

    I have never, ever understood this pervasive attitude – no matter what the state of our economy – that government doesn’t work.

    I can name off dozens of ways that good governance has impacted my day. I get to work on a subway on a system that is clean, reliable, and very safe. I had a glass of water – I know that it was safe from contamination because of various regulations and monitoring systems. It was a nice day, so I went outside during lunch to eat in a park maintained by government employees. The paper I read is possible because of the First Amendment and FOIA. Almost all of my very intelligent co-workers were educated at public schools, and attended college thanks to federal loans.

    Yes, I believe that a good politician and a good legislator are not necessarily one of the same, and it’s always a shame when a candidate who is good on the issues can’t win because of lack of charisma, inability to fundraise, etc. But I don’t believe the American public is stupid – I think they re-elect people who’ve done good for their district. Plus, you can’t be stupid if you think you can run the country better than the people you elected, right? Or can you?

  78. First, most politicians–and I mean like virtually all of them–do not “read and understand” legislation. They have staffers who sort of do. The “understand” part is a big problem, because these bills often have larger effects that just within their four walls.

    Second, intelligence is not even campaigned on, let alone the reason someone is elected.

    Finally, just because government does something today doesn’t mean that it necessarily has to or that the same function couldn’t be done better, cheaper, and faster by a private alternative. For example, if the government stopped worrying about water quality, then we wouldn’t all start drinking sludge, now would we?

  79. “But there is a real threat of, say, hostile countries emptying their prisons into the US.”

    The USSR did this when we said we’d accept Jewish refugees who wanted to escape persecution. Most of them moved to Israel, but the USSR sent their organized crime mobs here. I think this was under Carter if I’m not mistaken (from the book Red Mafiya). Of course this stuff happens when we say “send your people here we won’t look up their backgrounds” as with Cuba.

    Of course if we were to end the war on drugs, I imagine quite a bit of our importation of crime from Mexico would end.

    “Seriously, we really think there’s absolutely no skill involved in reading and writing the law?”

    No there is not. The senators and represenatives don’t read or write the law. They have lobbyists do it for them, or staff sometimes, and lobbyists prepare summaries of the laws for them to read, and sometimes staff does.

    Hell any of us can do that much. Maybe some of us might actually bother to read the laws before voting on them, that alone would be more than our current representatives do.

  80. I agree that staffers are an essential part of modern government, but “I mean like virtually all of them do not ‘read and understand’ legislation” is an inaccurate exaggeration. Lawyers have always constituted upwards of 40% of the seats in Congress. I’m not saying that I wouldn’t like to see that percentage lowered, but I’m pretty certain that the lawyers understand what’s going on.

  81. Pro:

    First off the majority of the Congress cannot read a bill that is over 6,000 pages, much less understand it because it is written by and for lawyers. The purpose is to obscure rather than enlighten and allow subsequent politicians to twist the law into whatever shape they wish.

    Term limits would eliminate the problems we have. It would be tougher to buy politicians and much riskier for once you have donated to a politician he can do whatever he pleases without need of another contribution. By random selection by lottery would be even better.

    Who was the last clerk, shoemaker, policeman, nurse, teacher, soldier who served in the Congress? We have a Congress that is composed of millionaires, staffers, lobbyists and lawyers. No wonder it sucks so bqad and is so crooked.

    Anyone who said their life long ambition was to be a Congressman is one step beneath someone admitting they always wished to be a child molester.

  82. Lawyers in Congress aren’t legislative specialists. They aren’t elected for their skills. I worked in DC and had roommates who were staffers, and the idiocy of many Congresspersons was the main theme of our discussions. And even for the ones that are capable of understanding even a poorly written bill, they can’t understand what they don’t read. Also, when you’re voting on a bill based on the six bullets you read about it, you aren’t doing your job.

    I also read legislation for a living, and it’s obvious that very little real reading or understanding is going on in Congress. Usually, a well-drafted bill is the product of an outside organization–one that has spent six months drafting and proof-reading the document. The single-issue bills are better than these catch-call bills, too. Notoriously bad are the freaked-out Congress bills–USA PATRIOT, Sarbanes-Oxley, etc.

    Curious George,

    Indeed. One cannot discount the extent to which some bills are intentionally confusing.

    I’m all for term limits.

  83. Seriously, we really think there’s absolutely no skill involved in reading and writing the law?

    Apparently not, given the low quality of much of the work product of our legislatures.

    No special talent that prevents people from enacting laws with some really screwed-up unintended consequences?

    If there is such a talent, it isn’t notably apparent in our legislators, who pass laws that almost without exception have really screwed-up unintended consequences.

    No experience with math, economics or budgeting necessary?

    I would say that such skills would be very useful, but you are unlikely to find them possessed in any great degree by most legislators.

  84. Citizen Nothing,

    As does your entire schtick, Neu.

    No doubt about it, I am more smug than you are.

    I hope this doesn’t apply to building bridges or brain surgery.

    It does, in spades. Do you really want some guy who is cock-sure he won’t fuck up cutting around inside your skull?

    Paul

    Actually, no, I don’t see that at all. What it means is that nobody can do a good job of running the economy. Further translated: I don’t know how to run the economy either– because economies are too complex to be managed.

    I guess you could read it like that, but the implication I got from the statement was more along the lines of “only fools would pretend that they could have a positive impact on the economy using public sector resources and top-down mechanisms.”

    If the point was to say that no individual can manage all aspects of the economy in a real time fashion, the point is too obvious to be worth mentioning.

    Define “no one” and define “run the economy”.

    “No one” would mean there is no individual or group who could do it.

    “run the economy” see my comment above.

    Obama said “Only government can get us out of this crisis”. So at minimum Obama believes that only persons within the public sector can drive, steer, manage, what have you, the economy out of this “crisis”.

    I think he has also been very clear that government is only one (very large) player in the economy and that government alone can not solve the crisis. He has said as much very explicitly. The gloss I would give his message is that we can’t get out of the crisis without some involvement from the government. This does not mean that the way out of the crisis is to have the government “running the economy.”

    Further, we know that Obama isn’t asking the undersecretary of of the Centers for Disease Control to get us out of this crisis. He’s placed a few departments, and ultimately, a couple of department heads in charge of “managing this crisis”. So I think that one can conclude that Obama believes that a select team of managers can in fact, manage the economy.

    No, I believe he has selected a team of managers to manage the government’s response to the crisis. Very different from “running the economy.”

  85. It’s interesting how much worse technology-related bills got after Congress abolished the Office of Technology Assessment. While I’m usually for any and all government shrinkage, getting rid of OTA may have been a bad idea, because Congress (both parties) is legally retarded when it comes to science and technology. Any kind of science and technology.

    On the other hand, its abolishment was part of the Contract with America for some reason, so maybe I give the OTA too much credit.

  86. And yet, despite all the bitching, people keep voting for them.

    We get exactly the government we deserve.

    Also, as you guys seem to endorse the idea of random Joe Blow on the street running for Congress, how exactly do you reconcile that with the pork-laden system of campaign finance as it presently exists, and that you for the most part defend? I challenge you to find the percentage of people randomly pulled from a phonebook who can actually afford to run for Congress. I suspect it will be low.

  87. “We get exactly the government we deserve.”
    Don’t blame me, I voted for Kodos!

  88. The existance of lawyers is in part a function of the complexity of the law, so it’s no surprise that in a system where we have career legislators that most of them are lawyers.

    But let’s be serious. The vast majority of congressmen aren’t even decent lawyers. They are good at two things: getting into office and staying in office. Which means they devote most of their brain power to raising money and reading polls.

    The virtue of the random selection thing would be that most of the people chosen would also be a lot less corrupt and more willing to put a good faith effort into getting it right.

    Time spent in congress probably would involve a couple dozen crash courses in various aspects of the law.

    Besides, we could always come up with some jury selection like process to disqualify people that are not competent. Presided over by the supreme court, say, with political parties questioning each person the same way prosecutors and defense lawyers do.

  89. raising money and reading polls.

    Not too sure about the latter. They have staffers to do that.

    -jcr

  90. It’s like those cellphone commercials, “What if delivery people ran the world?” or “What if roadies ran the world?”

    Can anyone honestly tell me those professions, hell any profession wouldn’t do better?

  91. “Vines & Cattle | February 11, 2009, 7:58pm | #
    It’s like those cellphone commercials, “What if delivery people ran the world?” or “What if roadies ran the world?””

    Congress is what happens when lawyers run the world.

  92. BTW didn’t ancient Athens do a kind of random selection for their representatives?

  93. BDB,

    I seem to remember that…but, iirc, it was a random selection among clans or sects or something. The leadership within that clan that took charge wasn’t a random selection from among all the citizens.

    Pueblos in NM often use a similar non-random system. Each year a different clan gets to be in charge. Since there is usually only 2 or 3, they just rotate.

  94. “Pueblos in NM often use a similar non-random system. Each year a different clan gets to be in charge. Since there is usually only 2 or 3, they just rotate.”

    Switzerland does something like that among their Cantons, too. I think its a nice federal system.

  95. Yet, the majority of them support, or fail to oppose those in office.

    Collectively, the American people are largely responsible for their own fate, whatever it is.

  96. The sad part is all these folks think they are smart, but they are actually a bunch of typical ignorant Americans, the vast majority of whom have never cracked a book about economics, or anything else for that matter.

  97. “Which means they devote most of their brain power to raising money and reading polls. ”

    Are you saying that they now have brains? You mean they’ve adapted, copied our DNA.

  98. “They also show that those who are less skilled are more likely to over-estimate their abilities, are less responsive to information about their relative ability compared to others, and do not recognize better performance as better when it is shown to them.”

    These people are known as “progressives”.

  99. A lottery for Congress would be great. Everybody gets one ticket.

  100. I think we’d do just as well with a nice bag of hammers. Cetainly the bag of hammers would be smarter, if not quite as articulate.

  101. On reading versus understanding:

    Otto: Don’t call me stupid.

    Wanda: Oh, right, to call you stupid would be an insult to stupid people. I’ve worn dresses with higher IQs. I’ve known sheep that could outwit you, but you think you’re an intellectual don’t you, ape?

    Otto: Apes don’t read philosophy.

    Wanda: Yes, they do Otto, they just don’t understand it. Now let me correct you on a couple of things here. Aristotle was not Belgian. The central message of Buddhism is not ‘every man for himself,’ and the London Underground is not a political movement. Those are all mistakes, Otto. I looked them up. Now, you have just assaulted the one man who can keep you out of jail and make you rich. What are you going to do about it huh? What would an intellectual do? What would Plato do?

  102. That just shows how dumb many people are in this country. It’s insanely easy to be an armchair quarterback, but trust me- your “brilliant” ideas would do no better… if they didn’t cause more harm.

    People whine and bitch about this- ever heard of elections? Get involved and make sure the person you want elected gets in office. If they win- you’re set. If they lose? That means the majority of the country DOES NOT AGREE with how you think things should be working, and you should sit down and complain until the next election.

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