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Bloviating Zeppelin: Your Efficient Federal Government

Bloviating Zeppelin

(in-ep-toc'-ra-cy) - a system of government where the least capable to lead are elected by the least capable of producing, and where the members of society least likely to sustain themselves or succeed, are rewarded with goods and services paid for by the confiscated wealth of a diminishing number of producers.

Wednesday, August 05, 2009

Your Efficient Federal Government

Not long ago, I mailed a letter. I was paying a bill. I placed a US Postal Service "Forever" stamp on the upper right corner of the envelope, and my return address on the upper left portion.

Yes, I'm strange. I don't allow anyone to have control over any of my accounts.

I want to control my fiscal accounts and what is removed from any of my accounts and when.

With that in mind, I recently paid my monthly mortgage.

This envelope was sent from my very small town down to the central Fornicalia (Sacramento) processing center.

The envelope was returned to my Postmaster with a "postage due" notice.

Luckily, because I live in a very small town, and I know her, my Postmaster took complete care of me. And the situation pissed her off as well. She took time to write this letter to me:

Dear ____:

This letter was returned to you today for more postage. It does have a Forever stamp and does not require an additional 2 cents. I have written a letter to (your bank) explaining the error. Should you have a problem with a late charge on this item, let me know and we will need to make it right. This is so embarrassing and makes me very angry that someone in Sacramento does not know that a Forever stamp is good "forever."

I have enclosed a copy of the letter I sent to (your bank) and a copy of your letter.

Please accept my apology for this gross oversight.


(My Postmaster)

I sent a copy to my boss and he is letting the plant know.


Ladies and gentlemen:

Let there be no mistake: this is the Federal Government that will be in charge of not the "small things" in your life like a single stamp -- but in fact Your Physical Life with regard to ObamaKare.

This is a Federal Government that couldn't even recognize one of their own Forever stamps.

I'm certain you can do your own --as I call it -- Logical Extension.



Blogger TexasFred said...

Sit back, relax, it's all gonna be OK...

ObamaKare is going to kick in and it's going to make you well, or kill you, as the case may be...

And all of our lives will be run in this highly efficient manner too, so, what do we have to worry about?? Since I started taking 4 Prozac a day, I have NO issues...

Laugh if you like people but THAT is exactly what the average Lib is thinking right now...

Tue Aug 04, 06:55:00 PM PDT  
Blogger cary said...


Tue Aug 04, 08:37:00 PM PDT  
Blogger Mahndisa S. Rigmaiden said...

Meh. Weber would be proud with these Gawdawful beaurocracies!

Tue Aug 04, 09:53:00 PM PDT  
Anonymous Ranando said...

"Logical Extension"

Logical extension would be to realize that ObamaCare is never going to happen.

Wed Aug 05, 04:06:00 AM PDT  
Blogger Rivka said...

BZ, that postmaster is RARE. Not only are they inept at the USPS, usually the post masters are jerks.
As you know, I have someone in my home who works for the post office for 22 years and believe me we don't want them running our health care! The person I know reminds me of you. He goes out of his way to serve his customers, but gets in trouble sometimes when he does. His sub who takes over when he is gone, doesn't walk the extra mile for his customers and that is the way they want it. They have certain rules set up and if there is a special need of a customer they won't bend the rule to service him.

The USPS is not customer service oriented and the way they do things is so backwards. Believe me I hear many stories and we don't want them running anything else.

Wed Aug 05, 05:16:00 AM PDT  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Sheesh! Blind as well as deef & dum.

Thank goodness for the rare person of quality, anywhere, in any profession. She's a keeper. But if she should happen to disappear, you'll know why.

B Woodman

Wed Aug 05, 05:22:00 AM PDT  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Wow, that's the biggest stretch by a crazy righty I've seen! Lol! Hey, you lost your frieking job because of "Bushonomics.' When will YOU learn?

Wed Aug 05, 08:26:00 AM PDT  
Blogger Tom said...

The government giveth and the government taketh away...


Wait until they figure out that there are billions in IRA's that they can "acquire" for the public good...

Wed Aug 05, 08:44:00 AM PDT  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

BZ: Your stamp issue is a simple clerical error. Errors like that happen all the time, both in private and public sectors.

To pretend that this is in any way an indictment of government services is complete nonsense.

There's no question that government organizations are not error-free, and that there are inefficiencies. But it is a myth to assume that private corporations are any more efficient, or any less error-free.

The big problem with private health insurance is that their main motivation is to maximize profit, which is not directly related to the quality of the service they provide. In fact, they make more profit by denying coverage than they do by providing it.

Given that, private medical insurance is inherently LESS EFFICIENT than Medicare, or the VA, because less of the money that you pay in goes to care, and more goes to waste (profit, overhead).

It's always easy to knock the USPS, but the truth is that no private company would take on what they do (e.g., providing regular delivery to remote locations).

Wed Aug 05, 09:58:00 AM PDT  
Blogger shoprat said...

I just wish they were as efficient at collecting taxes as they were providing services.

The purpose of Obama Care is not to fix our healthcare system but to control people. The left is all about control and nothing else. If they can't control it they break it.

Wed Aug 05, 10:18:00 AM PDT  
Blogger cary said...

Anonymous - yeah, good thing no one has come up with the idea of collecting parcels and letters in a central location, redistributing them all over the country overnight and having them in the recipient's hands the next day, or a few days later if need be - wow! could you imagine how much that would cost? I'm sure no one would EVER pay for that kind of service.


Wed Aug 05, 10:23:00 AM PDT  
Blogger Mahndisa S. Rigmaiden said...

Anonymous commenter is typical of the lunacy of moonbattery. Cary was right to correct their erroneous thinking on postal delivery services a la UPS and FedEx etc. I would much rather pay private insurance than have government run healthcare.

These ignorant loons don't know enough about history to realize that insurance companies arose because doctors were charging too much money! The concept of insurance by groups for medical care is a wonderful idea and although some insurance workers are jerks,their behavior isn't indicative of an industry.

Many insurance companies are not for profit at all; they are non profit organizations. A great example of this is Blue Shield of California and then the Kaiser Foundation.

I get Blue Shield of CA medical insurance and it is pretty good coverage, not to mention the fact that I don't feel bad after I talk to a cust svc rep.

Wed Aug 05, 11:17:00 AM PDT  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Wed Aug 05, 12:58:00 PM PDT  
Blogger Average American said...

What is the most scary is that the postal service has the cream of the crop compared to other government agencies. Don't believe me, just call your friendly morons down at the IRS and see for yourselves!

Wed Aug 05, 01:28:00 PM PDT  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

cary: My point about USPS is that they provide some services that private companies do not and would not provide. My example is regular delivery service to remote locations. If you live in a remote rural, mountainous or island location, you may not get any service from UPS or FedEx, but USPS will still deliver.

The competition between the USPS and FedEx/UPS etc for parcel delivery has had pretty good results. I do a lot of shipping. I find that USPS does a very good job at a better price up to a certain size range. I like FedEx for overnight, although USPS Express Mail is also very good. FedEx and UPS are the only options for very large packages, but they are expensive. I have never had a damaged or destroyed package with USPS, but UPS has crushed the hell out of a package or two.

I think that this is a good example of where competition between the public and private options gives a better range of services overall. And I would argue that competition with USPS makes the private companies better, and vice versa.

What I read in this blog is a lot of twisting the facts to suit your ideology. For example, "the post office screwed up my letter, so all government sucks". Or, "there are some non-profit health insurance providers that do an okay job, so that means that there isn't really a problem".

If we want things to run better, if we want quality of life to improve, we really have to focus more on finding solutions, and practical management of outcomes. That starts with a footing in reality. There are real problems in health care in the US, and if we don't fix them, we'll all be screwed.

I have no illusions that Obama's reforms will eliminate all of our problems. Nothing will ever be perfect, there will always be problems, inefficiencies, wasted efforts and expenses. Nothing is perfect in any organization or institution, public or private. But doing nothing is a certain failure.

Wed Aug 05, 01:37:00 PM PDT  
Blogger cary said...

Point taken, anonymous. However, if the USPS were being run for what it cost to actually run well (like a true business) then it would be cost prohibitive for things like direct mail campaigns, yes? That's not a bad thing in and of itself.

As far as shipping, I prefer a private company (UPS, FedEx, etc.) because the thought of government doing something they shouldn't be (see the Constitution for what they should be limiting themselves to) is not comforting to me or most conservatives.

By the way, that whole idea of limiting the government should rule out any kind of government mandated health care plan at all, shouldn't it? The free market is still the best method for determining the fair price of anything, be it goods or services. true, the health care industry is hurting, but as with most things, government interference is not going to solve anything, it will only make it worse. And, since the main proponents of the bill have admitted they haven't even read it yet, why should they be willing to foist it off on us, the people they supposedly work for?

Wed Aug 05, 01:59:00 PM PDT  
Blogger shoprat said...

A screwed up letter is usually no more than a nuisance, though some letters are critical and could be serious.

Screwed up healthcare, like Obama is dreaming of, will result in people dying as they wait.

Wed Aug 05, 02:39:00 PM PDT  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

cary: The "idea of limiting government" isn't one that is spelled out very specifically in the Constitution. Where the Founding Fathers would have stood on the role of government in health care is pretty hard to discern, considering that real health care didn't exist in those days, much beyond setting broken bones, blood-letting and leeches.

For me, it all comes down to a matter of what works and what doesn't work. Private run fire departments were a disaster when they were tried up through the end of the 19th Century. Private company police departments would be a nightmare. Private militias like Blackwater have been very troublesome. Clearly, there are cases where the government does things better than the private sector, where free market forces just don't lead to good service. The health insurance industry is making record profits, but the quality of care isn't improving, and the number of uninsured is rising.

In terms of actual service, there is a lot of room for improvement in the way that we do health care here in the US.

Wed Aug 05, 03:08:00 PM PDT  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

M. Rigmaiden defense of ' typical of the lunacy of moonbattery' show little originality and lack of intelligence

Wed Aug 05, 05:52:00 PM PDT  
Blogger Bloviating Zeppelin said...

Anonymous: predominantly, when I run into government -- and not just the federal side -- I run into persons who are primarily unmotivated. And are rather close-minded, short-sighted. The stamp issue is simply one case and one point, and that's this:

You'll get, with government-run medicine, the same courtesy, consideration, exclusivity, work ethic, courage, efficiency and innovation as you would at your local DMV.

This is a frightening concept. As you know and as was stated here by Shoprat, there is a WORLD of difference between a messed-up stamp and my healthcare in the hands of drones that -- have you considered this, sir? -- you likely will not be able to argue with, sue, or reconcile.

MY healthcare is between MY doctor and myself. Because I'm in my sixth decade that means -- what? -- I won't get that hip replacement? That I won't acquire the chemo regimen? Because my younger days are behind me and I'm looking at retirement? Because I'm going to cost more as I age? So I'm just an early write-off?

You're certainly welcome to come here and comment. But as everyone knows, I'll be doing my level best to help ensure ObamaKare does not occur.

Yes, healthcare needs repair. But you don't have to gut the entire system and place it into the hands of a federal government I, quite frankly, don't much trust -- and that includes pretty much both sides of the aisle.


Wed Aug 05, 06:06:00 PM PDT  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

BZ: I don't know why everyone here is so down on the DMV. I'm not trying to defend them, but I never have any trouble there. My license photo even turned out okay last time. I have more complaints about my local cable TV company, which really sucks.

There is no "government run" health care proposal on the table. Nobody is talking about UK-style socialized medicine. This is an important point, because there is a lot of disinformation out there, most of it being spread by health care industry lobbyists.

So, the whole "government coming between me and my doctor" argument is a non-issue. The only issue that does come up is what your plan will pay for.

It sounds like you're heading toward Medicare eligibility. There are plenty of data out there showing that people on Medicare are happier with their service than are people on private plans. Medicare is a public insurance program, and Medicare does not come between the patient and the doctor any more than a private insurance company does.

In fact, Medicare's coverage rules are more straightforward. As one primary care physician said to me recently "Medicare covers pretty much everything", while private insurance is often a lot less less clear. MDs end up dealing with most of the headaches when it comes time to argue with private insurance companies.

The issue of employee competence is relevant in more ways than one. It is actually the goal of private companies to DENY your benefits. Private insurers incentivize their employees to deny benefits (I know someone who actually got fired because he gave a client too much help toward claiming the benefits they were entitled to). So, if the private insurance company employees are actually competent in terms of fulfilling the requirements and goals of their jobs, then the end result is a loss for the patient.

The choice then is between a publicly provided health insurance which might be error prone, versus private plans that are out to get you by design. In my experience, unintentional errors are usually easier to get fixed than intentional ones. And there is a very real danger that people who have private insurance now may lose it due to rising costs, loss of a job, etc.

Implementing reforms, including a public option, are not going to solve everything, and are not going to be a perfect solution. But the economics of health care in this country are taking us off a cliff, and we need something to at least cushion the fall. Private insurance isn't going to do that.

Wed Aug 05, 07:40:00 PM PDT  
Blogger Bloviating Zeppelin said...

Anonymous: don't know where you live but in Fornicalia the DMV is the poster child for "calculated indifference and unmotivation."

And Medicare? Uh-huh. How many doctors are even going to be taking Medicare in the future with what they DON'T pay.

The entire healthcare issue is coming to a head -- something that's not necessarily a bad thing in itself. It certainly could use light focused on it. But I comPLETELY disagree with "single payer" government run healthcare.


Wed Aug 05, 07:58:00 PM PDT  
Blogger A Jacksonian said...

The US Constitution, by design, is a negative rights document: only those things explicitly stated for government are granted to it. This is explicitly stated in Amendments IX and X where all rights not spelled out for the federal government are reserved for the States and the people. Amendment XIV incorporates the Bill of Rights to all the citizens of the States without exclusion, therefore it is a personal and civil right to retain all rights not spelled out to the federal government.

The greatest good that the federal government ever did in nutrition and medicines was the act to mandate content labels for every food and medication. Within a few years the sales of opiates and adulterated foods dropped before any other action was taken by government. That is for the common good: to allow individuals to know what they are purchasing.

The federal government is given power over the posts due to Franklin who saw that as a public good. He did not, however, object to private carriers who would do more than transport mere letters. Nor was there any objection to letter carrying by non-government entities: the concept over the post and post roads was to ensure that there would be a public venue that would deliver such items. That, too, is stated in the Constitution and we live with that to this day, where the USPS now does a level of integration with UPS and other carriers for packages that cannot be delivered by USPS in a timely or cost-effective manner. Purchasing many items online I find a number have arrived by UPS that have USPS orginating postage and marks and no evidence of transit marks.

This makes the USPS a 'lowest common' carrier, not the be-all, end-all to posting mail and goods, and the partial privatization of the USPS now makes it clear that the government can readily contract out for such services and only needs to pay out when the unexpected (acts of nature, economics) preclude the governed cost of postage, thus needing federal cash to make up the shortfall.

That is a far different beast than health care. Medicaire and VA systems are a horror to those in them: bureaucratic, complex, and having low levels of care provided. Unless it has been forgotten it was Democrats who went after the VA system, particularly WRAMC... and then did NOTHING to change the cost, accounting, payment and other structures of the VA. It was preferred as a 'problem' to hype about and then be ignored once Congress was majority Democratic. If the government has huge problems running these systems, and it does in both as veterans and the elderly can attest to, then why should it be expected to do one bit better covering all Americans or mandating coverage and then coercing coverage for those who don't want it? Doctors are already finding that leaving Medicaire/Medicaid and private insurance plans reduces the cost of overhead, allows for practices to be streamlined, and allows for non-suit provisions to be adopted for care. By taking out the overhead, removing law suits, and otherwise getting bureaucracy down, doctors can provide more and better coverage, plus have time to do free and charitable work... time that used to be taken up with paperwork hassles.

And if you want to stop the doctors from leaving a system, any system, then just how is that providing them with liberty to practice as they choose? I will trust a doctor on that before I trust any bureaucrat. And I WAS a federal government bureaucrat in one of the MOST efficient agencies in the government and it STILL had 35% wasted time due to bureaucracy... compared with only 20% in the industry side. Americans pay for that delta of efficiency... that was part of my job, examining that for new technology insertion opportunities. Strangely enough you can put labor saving technology in place and still be left with the old work rules for years afterwords, which means you gain no efficiency at all.

The Theory and Practice Conundrum strikes again.

Thu Aug 06, 04:27:00 AM PDT  
Blogger cary said...

It's amazing - every time I read one of AJ's posts or comments, I feel like I just sat through an enjoyable mini-seminar.

And, I feel like my IQ went up by 5%.

Thu Aug 06, 08:44:00 AM PDT  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Wow're always so....FULL OF SHIT!

Thu Aug 06, 07:11:00 PM PDT  

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