Nobody Wins Elections Promising to Trim Waste/Fraud And Simplify Regulations

Tyler Durden's picture

Submitted by Charles Hugh-Smith of OfTwoMinds blog,

The problem in representative democracy is that every instance of waste, graft, fraud and monopolistic racket is somebody's fat paycheck or government contract.

Promising good governance guarantees a losing campaign for public office. The central irony of representative democracy is similar to the central irony of capitalism: the relentless pursuit of narrow self-interest ends up eroding the shared foundations every self-interested participant relies upon.

The problem in representative democracy is that every instance of waste, graft, fraud and monopolistic racket is somebody's fat paycheck or government contract. Those few who see the systemic damage wrought by unproductive skimming, scamming and churn are motivated by a concern for the foundations of the entire system, while those fighting to retain their share of the swag are driven by a fierce cornered-animal desire to keep their share of the loot regardless of the consequences to the system.

Who wins such conflicts? The people fighting tooth and nail to defend their share of the swag, even if it is unproductive, wasteful churn with high opportunity costs for society as a whole: for example, what else could we do with the hundreds of millions of dollars spent on tax preparation and avoidance were the thousands of pages of tax regulations radically simplified?

Nobody wins elections promising to trim waste/fraud/monopolies and simplify the churn of complex regulations because any such good governance threatens somebody's fat paycheck/contract, and those fearing banishment from the state's feeding trough will go to any lengths necessary to defeat the "good governance" candidate.

The winning candidate promises not good governance for the benefit of all but more swag for enough voters to win the election. Grabbing the lucrative reins of power is the ultimate in private aggrandizement within representative democracy, and as a result there will always be a large pool of individuals willing to promise the moon to get elected and a vanishingly small pool of people concerned enough about systemic risks to suffer the slings and arrows of campaign politics for the common good.

Capitalism shares a similar irony: the relentless pursuit of narrow self-interest (personal profit) drives the stripmining of the seas for high-value fish, killing vast numbers of "worthless" sea life in the process. When the ocean ecosystem has been destroyed, the theory is that a substitute will be found, such as farm fishing.

But farm fishing does not replace the lost ecosystem, any more than planting rows of monoculture trees for paper pulping replaces a native forest. Just as markets do not have any mechanisms to value ecosystems, representative democracy has no mechanism to counteract the systemic consequences of individual aggrandizement within the system.

Once the number of participants in the system drawing politically-protected benefits and paychecks exceeds the number of those paying taxes to fund the swag, the system destabilizes. Since the state is ultimately run to benefit the individuals drawing paychecks, benefits and contracts paid by the state, nobody cares about the systemic consequences of this imbalance or the heavy opportunity costs of supporting innumerable skims, scams and unproductive churn.

To avoid the political pain that would result from trimming waste/fraud/ rackets, the state prints money to keep the swag flowing. Since the state can't create real wealth, it prints claims on wealth and passes off the paper as "money."

As long as the state is judicious in its printing, the resulting inflation is modest enough that participants are more than happy to accept a small decline in purchasing power in return for keeping their share of the swag intact.

But this monetary gaming has systemic dynamics and limits. The hubris of the state, regardless of its ideological basis, is that central planners can tweak the monetary gaming to keep the swag flowing without creating any uncontrollable risk.

But risk cannot be eliminated, it can only be transferred. In representative democracy, the risks are transferred from individuals drawing swag to the system and state itself. The state appears so vast and powerful that it can absorb essentially infinite amounts of systemic risk. But the state is like any other system: its ability to sustain monetary games is finite, as is its ability to fund unproductive churn indefinitely and its control of destabilizing risk.

The only thing that is infinite about the state is the hubris of those at the controls and the narrow self-interest of those at its capacious feeding trough.

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Relentless101's picture

I know to many on thise site, this is obvious and nothing new. But if America has a chance, this is fucking playbook. Stop buying votes you bureaucratic scum.

Jlasoon's picture
“Everything the State says is a lie, and everything it has it has stolen.”




disabledvet's picture

"Come with me...and you will live." The Terminator.

Incubus's picture

Dorothy: How do you talk if you don't have a brain?

Scarecrow: Well, some people without brains do an awful lot of talking don't they?

CPL's picture

"Hey baby, wanna see a foot with no toes?!"

- Jewelz in Pump Friction

0b1knob's picture

< Ronald Reagan.

< Who is Ronald Reagan?

"Nobody wins elections promising to trim waste/fraud/monopolies and simplify the churn of complex regulations"

J J Pettigrew's picture

Government is ALL about SPILLING money...

And it is spilt in WA DC and NYC...... and they are all for it!!

Hence the Founders were AGAINST centralized governments... and were FOR States

THe Federal Income tax changed the entire system....piles of money sent to WA DC and

the States elect people to beg for it back.


dontgoforit's picture

So, the good guy has got to do what obama did: lie like hell.  Tell the people what they want to hear.  Then, once elected, go do what needs to be done.  We may never recover from this decade.  I can't help but believe if Romney had been elected the picture would be a whole lot brighter already and getting brighter with each quarter.  Too bad for us.

lordylord's picture

LOL.  Romney would have been just as bad as Obama.  Just like Obama is just as bad (worse in my opinion) as Bush.  The next guy will be just as bad (probably worse) as Obama.  People like Ron Paul, who should be president, have too much integrity to lie.

tempo's picture

Texas, your future is CA. The democrats will always be more caring and PC no matter what R do. Promise more, give more entitlements call others racist and homophobes. It works. Look at CA. A senile idiot is ahead by 30 points to become Governor for 16 years. He is completely controlled by the left. This will continue until there is a crash and then the real control will be seen.

fonzannoon's picture

There is a guy on cnbc now named howard lutnik. I have to give him credit he takes douchebag to a whole new level.

nope-1004's picture

Don't waste your time watching the cartoon network.


fonzannoon's picture

I just watch here and there to make sure the economy is still growing.

foodstampbarry's picture

I can't change the channel when Becky's on. God that women is hot.

disabledvet's picture

One of the great bond "bosses" of all time...was running Cantor Fitzgerald when the bulk of the firm was annihilated on 9/11.

Known basically as "the biggest asshole ever" many were disappointed he wasn't one of the dead actually.

Having said that "you worked for Howard you could work for anyone" and those folks...with him still in charge...rebuilt that company "dick by dick."

Just bought a huge house in Fla actually...all long all the time in the Treasury space.

Any questions?

(Nice observation btw. Welcome to New York bitchez!)

ShorTed's picture

He's a BAD guy...just check out his treatment of 9/11 Cantor Fitz families.

p00k1e's picture

They‘re all in on it.

Here in Michigan, Republicans continue to send bailout funds to Detroit.  Year after year, decade after decade.

Republicans continue to tax and spend and are raising gas taxes here as I type. 

Republicans support taxing the good citizens of Michigan for Art Centers and Zoos too. 

Stuck on Zero's picture

Definition of a Republican:  95% of a Democrat.


tempo's picture

A true minority racist, homophobe.

Hubbs's picture

Being in politics is like getting a platinum  EBT card. No useful productive work, but supported by tax payer and currency devaluation ( government has to print money to pay for the promises that politicians need to make and fulfill to keep getting re elected.)

Based on the premise that the public will always vote themselves a free lunch.

Definition of politician: one who seeks reelection.

Fractional reserve banking and FED Reserve quarantee plenty of money available (for a while) to pay for all this.

Embedded politicians attract influence money by corporations seeking quid pro quo favorable legislation in return. Politicians get rich.

A fasciist duopoly or political-corporate domination results, all supported quietly behind the scenes by the banks and their money they generate.

So simple a caveman can understand it.



earleflorida's picture

'tell that to Hillary (Jiang Qing) RodMAN when she's gotta be disturbed in her 70's from multiple naps at 3am... to take out the promised trash!'

Omegaman2211's picture

Solution: Dissolve government - permanently.

Everybodys All American's picture

There is a governor in Wisconsin who would beg to differ.

TrustWho's picture

The reasons The Founders never created a democracy and called the masses The Beasts. The Founders gave Americans the best form of government that allowed its citizens to earn liberty if they desired to work for it.

kevinearick's picture

Death & Taxes, Again

You cannot effectively tax the unwilling. In an extortion economy based upon the assumption of tax control, the best you can do is tax the participants. If you attempt to extort labor, the workforce disappears and is replaced by slaves falling out of the middle class, creating a positive feedback loop between and among the various debt classes.

Of course the landlords feel compelled to raise rents due to the tax consequences of inflate-it-or-lose-it. That’s what happens when you walk into the casino, assuming that ownership in a printed tax base is anything other than a myth.

Tax control is tribute. The idea that anyone pays taxes on debt as income is ludicrous. The tribute rate is a penalty for social non-compliance. SCOTUS just reaffirmed that with Hillarycare. “I pay taxes” means that you help grow the slave ponzi and you want your entitlement, relative to the slaves.

The entire tax base is printed, debt controlling debt. In the middle class, you are paid in debt to make others, in the middle class, work more for less, on the assumptions that script making is somehow more valuable than ignorant labor, there is an inexhaustible pool of stupid labor, and that the planet is just as stupid as the participants.

Seems like just a couple of generations ago, before the medical / education complex, Americans widely recognized what a bumbling fool government was, and funded it anyway. That changed with Kissinger & Kids, and now you see why. The ‘conflicts’ were about moving the shop to China, on favorable terms to the participants, to grow the consumption ponzi under totalitarian conditions.

All three bedroom homes are not built alike. Of course the corporations are not going to hire anyone ‘out of work’ for social non-compliance. Of course your peers are going to vote you off the island for not buying that Coke, car or house. Why do you suppose employers make non-work inquiries on the application, to the credit bureaus, and in your Internet history? What is the purpose of gossip, other than to eliminate privacy?

The empire hangs by the thread of demographic control, increasing the duration mismatch, which is why the HS graduation rate is what it is, and why a university diploma isn’t worth the paper it is printed on. University is about the rule for establishing networks beyond the borders they impose upon others, not enlightenment. Politics is a child’s game, reproducing the moron psychology, for morons to rule morons into planned obsolescence.

It seems like just yesterday the VA was a model for healthcare. If the Canadian model works so well, why is Canada destroying its environment and real estate market to feed China? Why is China and Germany cutting deals with Russia again? Why is America moving its occupation back to Europe again? What do the Europeans hope to gain by charging rent on deposits? Why is Israel fueling the neo-Nazis with a proposal to eliminate cash?

As the Bay Area Rockstars are paid in other people’s lost purchasing power, to seam the ponzi across the entire planet, the planet is responding. The more global market rotation feeds legacy, which is getting further behind the curve, the more climate variability increases. Now, the critters are all looking for a better technology to process what remains, the green shoots, and the economist are hunting down every last source of bubble leakage.

Yes, natural resources are the real limit, but that’s not even the limit, because you have an entire unexplored universe. Scarce resources is not the problem. The problem is that all the theories require someone else, to be found, to do all the work, assuming that those unfound workers are stupid enough to need someone else to organize their work. The crap coming out of China, France and Germany doesn’t work because it doesn’t get you anywhere you need to go.

Specialization distributes wealth to legacy and the middle class, to efficiently remove the spoil pile. Intelligent labor can drill anywhere. Just because extortion is shutting down the global economy, and legacy has middle class eyes everywhere, does not mean that other economies cannot exist, beyond their false assumptions, in broad daylight.

Labor doesn’t have to watch legacy or the middle class, because they are derivative of capital adaptation, whether capital comes from natural resources or is recycled back into natural resources. If you want to implode an economy just stop recycling it, and trash will block all the exits, creating a reach for yield, on trash.

The ivory tower morons watch labor, from a comfortable distance, steal what they can, and distribute it across the empire, expecting labor to invest its time in a poor derivative of its own work. Meanwhile, the middle class is rapidly disappearing, testing one hypothesis of dependency after the other, all trying to prove labor can be replaced with technology, replacing itself. Intelligent labor doesn’t need a bank, and it can fully discount any bank regulation.

Empires can only follow the path of diminishing returns, lower quality at higher price, because each succeeding generation is subject to a higher hurdle rate. A $13/hr job is not going to support a million dollar hole in the wall. Whether you see it as America following Japan or vice versa is irrelevant. They exist in a positive feedback loop, children as debt slaves to their grandparent’s stupidity.

Civil marriage between legacy and the middle class doesn’t work. Legacy issues the specifications, ruling out the future, and the programmers copy code for debt, to maintain the status quo, buying junk from a catalogue, built and processed by robots. That is a threat to labor how?

Take a look at the SAT. You can teach your child the math in a year. That’s why the banal side exists, to disassemble logic into compliance. Keeping up with the banal side is easy, because your kids can identify any developments far quicker than the peer groups can develop them. Proprietary systems have the same problem, arbitrary assignment. The solution is simple. Leave them to efficiently compute themselves and they blow up.

Don’t deny your children equity in work. Farmers pad the peddles, increase the throttle and throw their kids in the seat. Electricians teach their kids to calculate distance and probabilities in their heads. If you are going to look on the bright side, make sure you are driving the truck, not walking in front of it.

You learn about life in birth and death, which the manufactured majority avoids in codependency with ‘modern’ medicine. You are not going into a white light. Funny, the looks on the critters faces when they realize that they have imprisoned themselves, in purgatory. Time is relative. You might want to put it to work.

Work, an offering of your time, is a much higher and broader standard than anything you will find in the contrived empire. Peer pressure is an extremely weak force relative to the planet. You learn by doing, turning mistakes into blessings. That’s life, that’s death and that’s marriage.

There is no plan. There are a relatively infinite number of plans. Taxes are just the misdirection. With talent, to see what others do not, from birth, and skills developed over a lifetime for the purpose, the middlemen disappear, like flies at the end of season.

Amish Hacker's picture

Logically, every voter should be ashamed of trying to screw his fellow citizens, since voters always select the candidate who promises benefits that someone else will have to pay for.