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April 05, 2006

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Daniel Gonzales

Actually waterless urinals are one of the best strategies for water-use reduction identified by the USGBC (US Green Building Council) and being a relatively new technology I imagine some money will do quite alot of good.

I'm taking an accreditation exam for sustainable architecture given by the USGBC on Friday.

Malcontent

According to CAGW, to be "pork," a project must meet at least two of the following criteria:

* Requested by only one chamber of Congress;
* Not specifically authorized;
* Not competitively awarded;
* Not requested by the President;
* Greatly exceeds the President’s budget request or the previous year’s funding;
* Not the subject of congressional hearings; or
* Serves only a local or special interest.

Again, it is not a commentary on the merits of such projects, but the process -- or lack thereof -- by which they are appropriated.

My own feeling on government research is that it should be involved only in basic research -- that is, research that would benefit society but for which there is no apparent commercial market. (Combatting diseases is a good example.)

"Waterfree urinals" may indeed be a great idea. But if they are, then there is a market for them, and such research and promotion rightly belongs in the private sector.

brian

What about the $300 Billion + spent on interest payments?

Queer Conservative

World Toilet Summit? 2/3 of the world doesn't have indoor plumbing and the summit cost us $13.5 million. Uh, no.

Wood utilization research? After some 10 millenia of civilization and wood utilization, we still need research on this?

And I'm sorry, Sparta, NC - but if there isn't enough private interest to open or keep your teapot museum afloat, then maybe it just needs to stay put in Aunt Bea's basement.

CG

I like what they do -- but in the interest of full disclosure on this organization -- I offer up these two articles:

[LINK 1]
[LINK 2]

[Malcontent's note: I don't normally edit comments, but in this case I deleted the articles and substitued links to the full stories, which can be found elsewhere on the Web. Some of these comment threads get unwieldy enough as it is without cutting-and-pasting entire news articles when links and/or selected quotes would suffice.]

Josh

Wow, CG, so providing links to those or something would have been really useful.

As for the bit about congressional spending, there has always been a huge issue with logrolling: everyone trades votes to get their own pet agendas passed. The end result is that a lot of useless projects that have no business getting federal funding get federal funding.

Similarly, Congress is best thought of as a captured agency, one so wholly reliant on the lobbying and funding of various interest groups it is incapable of working for any kind of grander, public good. The AARP is a perfect example of this, and how they radically distort the debate to suit their extremely narrow ends. Young people tend not to have as easily defined interests, and tend not to care as much about the political process, so they have much less incentive to organize and lobby.

In fact, the way Congress shifts at the tides of lobbyist firms is one of the saddest failures of the original intentions of the Constitution. Far from "ambition countering ambition" as Madison put it in the Federalist Papers, instead you see "ambition enforcing ambition" as everyone figures out ways to scratch each others' backs without any consequence.

Tommy

Mal-

Actually the Democrats, and a few moderate Republicans, were able to defeat the proposed changes based on the proposals merits- or lack there of. Paul Krugman identified three main points of confusion in the Social Security debates.

 The meaning of the trust fund: in order to create a sense of crisis, proponents of privatization consider the trust fund either real or fictional, depending on what is convenient
 The rate of return that can be expected on private accounts: privatizers claim that there is a huge free lunch from the creation of these accounts, a free lunch that is based on very dubious claims about future stock returns
 How to think about implicit liabilities in the far future: privatizers brush aside the huge negative fiscal consequences of their plans in the short run, claiming that reductions in promised payments many
I would suggest we:
1. Progressively tax the rich to make up for the retrogressive payroll tax.
2. Cut spending on the military-industrial complex which consumes half of the operating budget.
3. Means test Social Security (kick the really reach people off the dole so more resources can be devoted to the poor).

Tommy

rich people ;-) not reach people

Tommy

the corrections continue -- regressive tax- not retrogressive

Queer Conservative

I can make far more money with my money than the government can.

Tommy

That’s not the point-So can I- It’s the reason I invest in my 457, but I also believe in collectively taking care of the old and the sick. There are all sorts of things we as individuals, or small groups, might be able to do better than the big bad government. Why have public transportation or publically funded hospitals?

Queer Conservative

Public transit and hospitals - that's why I pay taxes. But don't force me to save money and not give me a say in how it's managed.

Queer Conservative

Or worse yet, take it from me under the false assertion that I'll get it back when I need it, only to find out that it was given to someone else and I'm SOL.

Tommy

Wow, there are two Tommy's on here. That's awsome. And I don't know which one I am.

Tommy

You do have a say. It’s called the ballot box. I fail to see how the payroll tax is any different than any other tax. You pay them and hope that the individuals you’ve intrusted with your vote dispense the money fairly. The only way you would be SOL is if you and enough of your fellow citizens decide not to adequately fund the trust fund.

Tommy

Thats right . . huh . . .huh

Tommy

I guess we should start saying the diebold box :-)

Tommy in Athens, GA

Tommy

Tommy in Athens, Greece

Malcontent

1. Progressively tax the rich to make up for the retrogressive payroll tax.
2. Cut spending on the military-industrial complex which consumes half of the operating budget.
3. Means test Social Security (kick the really reach people off the dole so more resources can be devoted to the poor).

Well, one out of three ain't bad, at least if you're playing baseball.

Queer Conservative

Well, let's start with the basic assumption that it's my money not the governments. Although I'm not sure that's the assumption you're starting from. Believe me, I vote to keep the government out of my wallet every chance I get. As for the payroll tax, the "theory" behind social security was that it would be a "supplement" to income when you retire. It was never intended to be an income you could live on with no other source of support. Also, it was supposed to be "what you pay in = what you take out" but that went out the window a long time ago. Quite honestly I wouldn't mind seeing Social Security go completely bankrupt as long as I don't have to help bail it out.

I'm very darwinian when it comes to social programs of any kind. I'll gladly give you a helping hand, but I won't support you, and quite honestly don't think I should have too. Exceptions being those who truly cannot care for themselves for whatever medical or physical reason. And I'm not sure I'd consider poor planning for your retirement a good reason for me to float you for 20 years past your 67th birthday.

But I'm just a mean greedy conservative so what do I know?

Tommy

QC - Its your money? Did you print it up? Its not like its a real thing.:)

Queer Conservative

That's funny. I got it the old fashioned way, I earned it - that makes it mine.

Tommy

smith barney workin for you

Queer Conservative

As a matter of fact...

Tommy

Mal-

The spelling or the solutions?

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