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The Fix Is In for Broken Government

Wednesday May 6th, 2015   •   Posted by K. Lloyd Billingsley at 5:02am PDT   •  

FixCAChallenge_Logo_200“They can’t complete a project, like building a bridge or updating a computer system, without it being late, over budget, or even obsolete by the time of completion.” That’s venture capitalist Tim Draper on California government, and he’s right. As we have observed, the new eastern span of the Bay Bridge was 10 years late, $5 billion over budget, and serious questions remain about its safety. The state’s bullet train project is supposed to cost $68 billion, will likely be slower and more expensive than air travel, and doesn’t take people where they need to go. These boondoggles are not the only evidence that government violates the maxim: if it ain’t broke, don’t break it.

Mr. Draper has launched Innovate Your State, a nonprofit (501c3) organization dedicated to educating and encouraging public participation to fundamentally improve government. The first project is the Fix California Challenge, which will field and evaluate ideas in government spending, waste, debt, pensions, taxes, health care, water policy, and education, one of the more serious concerns. Government’s idea for education is to transfer taxpayer dollars to a bureaucracy and keep the dollars coming despite meager results. Currently, approximately 74 percent of California’s college freshmen need remedial math and English, and these are supposedly the best students. True to form, the state has just named part of the education code after the late John Mockler, a lobbyist who enriched himself by working both sides of the table. Taxpayers and think tanks alike would do well to promote educational choice for all, as a matter of basic civil rights.

Government’s idea for health care is Covered California, the wholly owned subsidiary of Obamacare, which turns out to be a misery index. Taxpayers and think tanks should advance ideas that give choice to patients and promote innovation. Bureaucracies don’t innovate. Current government ideas have worsened California’s ongoing drought. Taxpayers and think tanks should pursue water exchanges, an innovative idea already working in Australia.

As the San Jose Mercury News noted, there is “no shortage of ideas for fixing government. may be something to watch.” Taxpayers and think tanks should keep the ideas coming. And with so many corrupt politicians going to jail, Mr. Draper might expand the categories to include criminal justice. Jon Coupal of the Howard Jarvis Taxpayers Association suggests limiting politicians to two terms, one in office and one in prison. As he observes, “Illinois already does this, and it seems to be working.”

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May 2015