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The Knight Crier

Online News Day or Knight - Official news site of North Penn High School - 1340 Valley Forge Rd. Lansdale, PA

The Knight Crier

Online News Day or Knight - Official news site of North Penn High School - 1340 Valley Forge Rd. Lansdale, PA

The Knight Crier

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Faculty/Staff Column: Government shutdown and the value of inefficiency

Faculty/Staff Column: Government shutdown and the value of inefficiency
AP

 

Bob McCreary is a Social Studies teacher at North Penn High School. The Knight Crier welcomes submissions to the Faculty/Staff Columns section from all interested faculty and stafff of the NPSD.

Since the NFL season is now in full swing, let me start with a sports related question.  If the Eagles needed a quarterback who can run on a particular play, would they take out Michael Vick and replace him with a big, slower lineman?  Of course, the answer to this absurd question is no.   In sports and in business, the most important job of the coach, boss, owner, etc. is to place people in positions where they can be successful.  That means having a good feel for the strengths and weaknesses of your players and/or employees.  Putting people in positions that do not coincide with their strengths is not only unfair to the person but unfair and counterproductive to the team or company as a whole.

Unfortunately, Americans today don’t seem to consider this obvious fact when it comes to solving the problems of our country.  Since the Great Depression and especially since the mid-1960’s, our knee jerk reaction to any problem is to ask the government “what are you going to do about this?”  But is our government best suited to fix the major problems we face?  Our Founding Fathers did not think so.

The Founding Fathers had a great deal of personal experience in dealing with a government that felt it alone should be “fixing” the problems of the colonies.  The Revolution and the creation of our Constitution was the result.

Our Constitution was specifically designed to protect against the government from becoming too influential in the lives of American citizens.  To make sure of this, the Founders inserted numerous checks and roadblocks into the system to insure that our government did not have an easy time just doing what they wanted to do.  Creating three equal branches and giving each specific powers to keep the others in line stemmed from this.  Giving some powers to the federal government and the rest to the various state governments was another example.  Making sure all revenue bills start in the House of Representatives was another.  The thinking on this was that if the government is going to collect and spend the people’s money, the House (the part of Congress that is most closely connected to the people)  is going to be given that job in order to better protect the interests of the people.  All these built-in checks and balances on government power were specifically and purposely inserted into the structure of our system to make it more difficult for the governing class of people to expand their power and infringe on the individual rights of Americans.

Today, this built-in inefficiency of doing things at the government level irritates many Americans.  Our modern society is a very fast paced one in which, almost daily, new technology is introduced to make our lives more efficient.  Computers allow us to write papers more efficiently than if completed on a typewriter or by hand.  Email and texting allows communication to occur more efficiently than writing letters.  Virtually all new technology is created to make our lives easier and more efficient.  When modern Americans see government in action, they see absurdity.  They see a government slow to take action.  They see political infighting and turf wars between the branches.  They see gridlock, shutdowns, and an endless array inefficient behavior as inconsistent with the real world.

And the Founding Fathers couldn’t be happier about it!

They are happy because it was their intent to create a system that was slow moving and methodical in its process.   This was not done to anger Americans.  It was done to protect their interests.  A government  with built-in roadblocks that was slow moving would force people to think long and hard about handing over important issues and additional powers to the government.

The government shutdown is understandably producing more cynicism in our government officials.  However, in my opinion at least, calling for changes in the “system” to make things more “efficient” is a dangerous road to travel down.  History books are teeming with examples from  kings, dictators, and the like who were very “efficient” in their decision making.  Unfortunately, the rights and lives of common people almost always suffered as a result.

It may be frustrating but the system is working as intended.  Like people and other institutions, our government has strengths and weaknesses.  If they are proving ineffective in dealing with an issue, maybe we should question whether they should be dealing with it at all.

 

 

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Comments (22)

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  • T

    Tahziba AkhterOct 8, 2013 at 11:11 pm

    I do agree with the terms described above the article. I believe the Founding Father’s slow process is needed to get things be obtained with more efficiently since many refers the government is quiet slow in taking action and have the adequet time to think over it. But the question of shutting down the government should be avoided. Because I think that will worsen the present condition as well as can possibly be a hindrance on the going through process of Founding Father.

    Reply
  • C

    Chris POct 8, 2013 at 4:25 pm

    I think this is the right act to take by the government not only because it will allow them to take time and talk over things but it allows for a better understanding of what is going on. Although Americans are complaining about the government being shut down, I think in the long run they will appreciate it more because allowing time to evaluate these problems will produce the right decisions.

    Reply
  • S

    Steven SchaeferOct 8, 2013 at 1:47 pm

    I believe the government is soon going to take our lives over. They re trying to make our economy too perfect by trying to meet everyones needs. This is a very ineeficeint way of thinking an almost creating a communist basis in our government. The government needs to worry about our own security and stop dealing with things that regard our lives. We also need to grow as a society so we can deal with these things our selfs. The shutdown of our government shows how much the government cares about our lives and shows the rest of the world how weak america is.

    Reply
  • J

    Julia LeeOct 8, 2013 at 12:02 pm

    I agree the government should take their time when making important desicions to consider the best possible solution to our issues. However the goverment does not need to shut down in order to make these desicions. Shuting down government run websites and places is inconveient for our society and we did not elect these officials for them to take these resources away from us.

    Reply
  • Z

    Zach ROct 8, 2013 at 8:51 am

    I believe that the government is doing the right thing, with taking their time to make a desicion before making any radical choices, and this is most likely what the founding fathers would of wanted. While Americans are complaining that the goverment shutdown was a bad thing, I think they would be much happier with the right choices made, instead of dealing with something they wouldn’t want.

    Reply
  • J

    Jalpa SatasiyaOct 8, 2013 at 8:15 am

    In my opinion, the government shut-down was not necessary, because it has not accomplished anything and it can negatively impact our economy and make the matter worse. and they should have used the process of the Founding Fathers which was to thinking thoroughly before acting.

    Reply
  • K

    Kaitlyn RiceOct 8, 2013 at 8:11 am

    I agree that the Founding Fathers orignial slow process was best because it allows enough time to think things through and not make rash decisions. I do not think the government needed to shut down though because so far nothing has been accomplished since. If they can’t be grown up and compromise together, then they shouldn’t be the ones making the decisions for our country, in my opinion.

    Reply
  • S

    Shanique Deveaux-FordOct 8, 2013 at 8:09 am

    I agree that the founding father’s original slow process of runing the governnment works more efficiently. I believe our governnment today are not thinking through their decisions when it comes to budget and government spending, and that’s what got us in this shutdown situation in the first place.

    That’s my personal opinion

    I agree with this article though.

    Reply
  • A

    Amber LawsonOct 8, 2013 at 8:05 am

    Now a days, Americans tend to rush things instead of taking the time to get things done efficiently. If a slower approach was taken, situations could be better evaluated. I don’t believe that power will ever be equally distributed. There will always be disputes and disagreements which makes it hard for there to be one solid decision. Maybe it is a good thing for the government shut down because it may help with efficiency.

    Reply
  • J

    jon shortsOct 8, 2013 at 8:03 am

    I believe that it’s good that we have the ability to argue and wait until a solution to the problem is agreed apon. But it affects millions of people by putting the out of work while congress is taking their time to agree.

    Reply
  • S

    Shab NoorOct 8, 2013 at 7:56 am

    I believe, We the People of the United States, in Order TO FORM A MORE PERFECT UNION, ESTABLISH JUSTICE, insure DOMESTIC TRANQUILITY, PROVIDE for the DOMMON DEFENCE, PROMOTE the GENERAL WELFARE, and SECURE the BLESSINGS OF LIBERTY to ourselves and our Posterity, do ordain and establish this Constitution for the United States of America.

    Reply
  • N

    Noelle NoziereOct 8, 2013 at 7:48 am

    In today I feel like we act fast to be the first to do everything but I feel its not always a good thing to be fast acting. Thinking about a major decision needs to take time and alot of planning so I agreed with the Founding Fathers on a “slow moving and methodical in its process.”

    Reply
  • B

    Brandon LukacsOct 8, 2013 at 7:47 am

    I don’t think the government should have shut down. I don’t really think it’ll solve anything in terms of them arguing because I dont think either side will give in. Also I dont think it will make anything more efficient I think it will slow everything down instead.

    Reply
  • K

    Kristen HallasOct 7, 2013 at 9:19 pm

    I agree with the slower process of the Founding Father’s, it gave enough time for them to actually think out the situations and all options to fix it. It was a much more efficient way of solving to government issues. Although in today’s government i feel as though we rush our decisions and they do not complete think out all possible options. or they may see some options as “impossible” when really they just involve spending more time and work on fixing the issue that way.

    Reply
  • S

    Sean ReamerOct 6, 2013 at 4:30 pm

    All things considered, I find that this article divides my opinions greatly. On one hand, there are numerous problems that can only be solved on a national scale: for example, gun control, national defense, and justice department cases. In situations like these, a more efficient, less easily corrupted system would be nice, as it would streamline the process and reduce the amount of time it takes to reach a forgone conclusion. However, at the same time, there are definitely things that do not need to be or simply cannot be judged as a nation-wide problem, such as medical marijuana, immigration control, and random tax increases or cuts. Issues such as these are best handled from the state level rather than the national level because the local governments are more in touch with the community that would be affected and can solve problems faster and better where the federal government would be bogged down in red tape and political nonsense. Overall, I think that there are issues that the federal government should handle and issues that the local governments should handle and that neither should cross over lest the delicate system put in place by the founding fathers be completely and utterly broken.

    Reply
  • E

    Eve DePascaleOct 6, 2013 at 4:27 pm

    I agree that the founding father’s original slow process is best because it allows enough thought before any rash decisions can be made. Today, we are constantly rushing to get things done and not stopping to look over and check that our choices on important matter are as good as they possibly can be. If the government is more worried of the efficiency than the task at hand then perhaps, as said, they shouldn’t be dealing with it at all.

    Reply
  • M

    Max StewartOct 4, 2013 at 1:57 pm

    I feel that the nation that we live in today is so much faster paced than when people lived here 300 years ago. When America was first founded, there was no electricity, no cars, etc. In this day and age, there seems to be a dissatisfaction with almost every product based on the fact that there will be something new soon. In this age of facilitation, technology provides easier ways to do things that were much more difficult 300 years ago, but also it hinders our development. This mindset that we have transfers over to our perspective on the government in our lives. A lot of people hate the government, but a lot of them hate it for its lack of speed. But it WAS intended to be a slow paced system. But living in 2013, everything is fast paced. You can let the world know how you are feeling in a second with a push of a button. But the government system we adopted in the late 1700s was intended for a slower paced society and in this day and age, that cannot keep up. This is a day of instant gratification. If we have money, we spend it. If we want something, we get it. No patience is shown. For that reason I believe that the government shut down. Solely because it could not possibly keep up with the instantaneous generation that is constantly moving.

    Reply
  • J

    Joe CarboneOct 4, 2013 at 1:43 pm

    In concept, and in theory I agree in terms of your comments on the structure of government. A government is much like a work place. If employees are given the power to make decisions, and those decisions often require a little extra work to accomplish them, the employees should embrace that, rather than just let their superiors make all the decisions for them – which most certainly would lead to a lot of complaining by employees who don’t like the outcome. So yes, the government is designed to keep a lot of power in the hands of the people and to keep radical government officials from making irrational decisions.

    That said, I cannot go so far as to say that I can accept the government shutdown as a necessary and positive outcome of a properly functioning government. In my mind, the legislators I elect should be innovative, intelligent, and diligent enought to find a way to carry out legislative debate without compromising the full fucntionality of our government, and without having to suffer through significant shut-downs that have the potential to significantly impact the economy of our nation and of individual familes.

    So, yes – Im glad that our government is working to the extent that there is debate and compromise before the passing of significant legislation. But, no – I cannot accept that the leaders of one of the most powerful nations in the world, who are theoretically supposed to be some of the most educated and able-minded people in the land, are not able to come up with a better solution to the functionality of our nation while this debate and these checks and balances go on.

    In accordance with the political ideology of this article – I, too, am a regisered Republican, but I cannot say I am fully satisfied at this time with the effectivness of those I have placed in office.

    Reply
  • K

    K.K. MillerOct 4, 2013 at 1:33 pm

    I agree with the Founding Fathers that our government is not best suited to fix the major problems we face.

    Reply
  • L

    Logan WelchOct 4, 2013 at 12:08 pm

    I feel that a slow moving government is good so that our government doesnt turn into a dictatorship but i do agree with you. We are living off of technology and everytime we advance it, its always progress towards speed. When we live our daily lives with fast paced things, people get frustrated with slowly making decisions and sometimes those decisions arent what the people want. I personally dont follow the government very much but i do agree from what i read and hear that everything the government does always has someone or a group of people with a negative point of view towards it. At the same time, i feel the government doesnt really listen to the people and there is always disagreements between the different parties that we never get anywhere with the problems we are facing. And i feel that, that is the main area where most of the anger comes from. I also think that its the reason why our government shut down anyway.

    Thats just my opinion on things.

    Overall, I agree with your column.

    Reply
  • J

    juan santosOct 4, 2013 at 8:13 am

    i believe this is true the founding fathers wanted the american citizens to argue to one another so one person would not have all the power and be able to fix our problems as a country and keep us from falling into dicatorship.

    Reply
  • M

    Micah PhillipsOct 4, 2013 at 8:09 am

    I feel that the government being inefficent is a good thing because it keeps any of the branches or people part of those branches from becoming too powerful. Our rights and freedoms our protected by this inefficency and if the government can’t solve one problem then that problem should probably be sent to someone else to solve.

    Reply