Leviathan Toolkit

Jun 132011

If you take a building with a lot of windows, and you cover up half of them, does that make it more transparent?   The vice president of the United States might be somebody who will tell you that it does.  From an article in the Washington Times:

As part of the Obama administration’s campaign to promote transparency, the White House announced today it intends to eliminate the public’s access to half of the federal government’s websites within the next year.

The White House said there are nearly 2,000 websites operated by the federal government, which it said confuses people.

“With so many separate sites, Americans often do not know where to turn for information,” the office of Vice President Joseph Biden Jr. said in a statement. “The administration will immediately put a halt to the creation of new websites. The administration will also shut down or consolidate 25% of the 2,000 sites over the next few months and set a goal of cutting the number of separate, standalone sites in half over the next year.”

It called the campaign of winnowing access to government web sites part of the president’s campaign “targeting duplication and waste.” The administration did not give an estimate of how much money it believes could be saved by halving the government’s Internet sites.

A White House official defended the move, saying it will actually improve access.

I suspect the Obama administration is just making up that stuff about Americans being confused by too many web sites.  We may find it hard to find information about which capitalist cronies are getting the latest favors from the administration, but my guess is that there is no foundation to the claim that our difficulty in finding information is due to too many web sites.    I further suspect that no before-and-after research is being planned to determine whether Americans will actually find it easier to get information after half the web sites are shut down.    I would even go so far as to surmise that Joe Biden deserves a Leviathan Toolkit award for his role in this plan.

Jun 092011

I am reminded today of why a free-market conservative like myself does not vote for successful businessmen on election day, especially those businessmen like Governor Rick Snyder of Michigan.      According to Wednesday’s WSJ, Snyder is in favor of consolidating local units of government.   He’s no better than his predecessor, Jennifer Granholm, who wanted to take over township governments.

His budget director is quoted as saying, “”You do have to ask: ‘Boy, do we really need 1,800 units of government?’  Everybody likes their independence, and that’s nice to have. But if you’re not careful, it can cost you a lot more money.”

  1. No, that’s not a question he needs to ask.   That’s a question that citizens of those units of government may need ask, but that’s not a question that has to be asked centrally.
  2. Anything can cost you a lot of money if you’re not careful.   One thing that can cost big time is consolidation of local governments to save money.    If you consolidate local taxing authorities into one big tax authority, that just creates a bigger bully to bludgeon money out of unwilling taxpayers.    It’s better to have a bunch of smaller bullies who are jealous of their prerogatives, and who therefore serve a watchdog function on each other.   Taking all the watchdogs in the neighborhood and having them run together as a pack is not the way to secure our lives, liberty, and property.

No Leviathan Ankle-Biter award for Governor Snyder.  Instead he gets the first-ever Leviathan Toolkit award.