Throw The Bums Out

Dump this self serving bum ..

I drove out to the middle of New Jersey yesterday morning to attend a board meeting. Everywhere I went, I saw "dump corzine" messages. It was clear the governor was in trouble.

And this morning, we wake up to the news that Corzine has indeed been dumped and Mayor Bloomberg barely got 50% of the voters in NYC to pull the lever for him

Both of these men are wealthy. Both of these men grew up on wall street in the 1970s. Both of these men moved from wall street to public service about a decade ago. Both of these men spent heavily to get re-elected. Bloomberg made it, Corzine did not.

It's worth spending a minute thinking about the message the voters sent here in one of the most liberal parts of the country. The voters aren't happy. The voters aren't comfortable with rich guys who can spend their personal fortunes getting elected. And most of all, the voters want change.

This may well be a referendum on Obama, but I see it more as a referendum on the status quo. It's a throw the bums out moment in this country. It's too bad that Nancy Pelosi, Harry Reid, Barney Frank, Chris Dodd, Mitch McConnell, and John Boehner didn't run for re-election yesterday. Maybe they would have been sent home as well.

It is not a positive to be an incumbent right now. And that's a good thing because the track record of our government sucks. I hope the anti incumbent mood continues to be honest. We could use a good house cleaning throughout our government.


Comments (Archived):

  1. gregorylent

    i remember your comments last year on tim geithner .. wondering if you have revisited that one in your mind :-)politics is after the fact, it is effect, not cause …change cannot come from government, will be obama’s legacyenjoy

    1. fredwilson

      Change may not come from within but we can change we governs us. We did that with Obama and Bush and we should keep doing it until we fix it

    2. maverickny

      Change cannot come from within until you get rid of all the old school politicians who are so out of touch with the modern world and it’s realities.Change might come from within in the future once new dynamic young people become more involved.

  2. kidmercury

    you know it boss, time for a house cleaning on virtually all levels. we just need a return to the constitution.of course the real issue isn’t criminal politicians, criminals always seek to get in government, that is their safe haven. the real issue is a self-absorbed, negligent, child-like population (and i don’t mean child-like in a good way, like innnocent and open-minded — i mean it in a bad way, like immature and stupid) that thinks none of this is their responsibility, and resents you for noting civic responsibilities. they are simply here to watch entertainment on television, that is the top priority.but i don’t think we’re going to get the cultural change needed without some type of a greater external shock. economic shocks hurt the most as everyone likes to have a little extra cash in their wallet. of course if/when the next economic shock comes, will people step up to the plate and roll their own solutions? or will they continue to let government “solve” the problem for them.right now, more troops are going to afghanistan. terry and howie and JB from NFL on FOX (american football commentators) are going to afghanistan too! that doesn’t strike me as cultural change, but rather as the status quo exerting even more influence.

    1. fredwilson

      Well we threw out some bums yesterday. I’d like to celebrate that for a day or two kid

      1. kidmercury

        fair enough, i’ll follow up with some more doom and gloom next week.

        1. Mark Essel

          Your post may have been written as doom and gloom, but all I read was “rational change” is coming. Nature may be cruel at times but it “fixes” imbalances quickly and without remorse. Let’s hope our own socio political shift is just as effective.

          1. kidmercury

            lol, i agree. you know kooks are often dismissed as doom and gloomers, but in reality they are extremely optimistic, as they believe all the problems can be solved, regardless of their magnitude.and you are definitely right on nature’s cruelty and self-correcting ways. best not to f with nature.

      2. Samuel Ian Rosen

        fred — i agree that you have the right to celebrate, but frankly, I come here to read your thoughts on business, investing, etc. — not politics. I would have went to the huffington post if I wanted to read a rant this morning.And as a fellow resident of Hoboken, I would have been less inclined to respond had you mentioned the re-election of Dawn Zimmer as the best example, after the embarrassment of our mayor being arrest several months ago. Our local mayor has much more of an influence on our lives than people think.

        1. Keenan

          Sam, why the bitterness to Fred expressing his opinion. That’s what makes blogging so special. We get the people, not just the story. Blogging is about the person and who they are.We’ve had 50+ years of “structured, formal” destinations for news and information. Blogging is changing that and allows for what we have here, 100’s of people expressing themselves and engaging.I personally don’t want to have only destination news, where I can ONLY get investing and business info from people like Fred and Political News from Huffington Post and Daily Kos, and sports from ESPN. I like the lines blurring, it scales the information.Finally, even if you do like your information to be separate, like not having your food touch each other on your plate, why did you feel a need to call Fred out on it? Are you suggesting he has an obligation to stick to certain topics as defined by you?With all due respect Sam, I think this is the self-absorption The Kid was talking about. Your comment suggests some how that Fred has some obligation to you and when choosing his topics and that just not the case.

          1. Samuel Ian Rosen

            Keenan,Blogging is unique — bloggers themselves have created a niche expertise which is why we read what they have to say. In “The blog where everybody knows your name” Fred wrote how grateful he felt for having an online community that actively discusses his posts. In order to foster this THOUGHTFUL community (unlike Kanye’s, as recommended by Kid in “blog stars”), he needs to have people who don’t always stroke his ego. I feel the need to call Fred out for the same reason I would hope he calls me out if he were a user of my website. Personally, I’d rather have 20 people stand in the street screaming how horrible I am rather than 80 people quietly dissenting at work — these 20 are who I’d learn the most from (The 20 I refer to are the ~2,000 of 125,000 which fred mentioned).I think you missed my point if you think that I said Fred has an obligation to stick to certain topics. This is Fred’s blog — I don’t have to read it. His post was impartial to republican and democratic bums. But Fred’s expertise is startups / vc, and I think he risks diluting his importance to those other 123,000 that read this blog for insight on VC.

          2. sigmaalgebra

            Interesting point: The answer seems obvious but is not!And the issue has value!So, on the one hand we can have some blog ‘categories’ (1) VC investing, (2) liberal politics, (3) conservative politics, …, and then expect that it is better if each blog is in just one category.On the other hand, we can have(1) Fred Wilson’s blog and others similar, e.g., maybe as in ‘blog stars’, (2) Caroline Goulding’s blog and maybe others similar in violin, ….Or, why is a ‘person’ and all about them a priori a less good category than a ‘subject’ in, say, the subject index of a library card catalog?This issue could be important!

        2. kidmercury

          you must not come around here much often, samuel. otherwise you would know that fred has repeatedly said he will say whatever he wants to say, and to your face. it’s a brutal policy, no doubt, but that’s the way things are here at AVC.

          1. Samuel Ian Rosen

            “Paying to pitch” was a great example of Fred’s “tell it like it is” approach, for which he saw resistance. (see more response to Kennan)

        3. JLM

          Unfortunately, the reality of the situation today is that the politicians have their collective thumbs on the balance beam of business and have more impact on short term success — job creation — than almost any other controllable force.It is naive to think that the economy of the Garden State did not take a step in the right direction yesterday.The greatest competitor for the retention of earnings in the marketplace today?Government through its tax setting mechanism. Government through its workplace policies.In NJ, the State gets more of a dollar of profit than the owners of the enterprise. And, that, Sammy, my boy, just ain’t right!

          1. Samuel Ian Rosen

            neither is the lack of marriage equality, which we probably won’t see now for at least 4 years.

          2. JLM

            You have lost me brother. Whar are you talking about?

          3. Samuel Ian Rosen

  ” And, that, Sammy, my boy, just ain’t right!”my response: neither is depriving people of civil rights.

          4. Dave Pinsen

            He’s talking about gay marriage, which is now 0-for-31 in referendums.

          5. JLM

            OK, well the outcome in Olympia Snowe country was instructive. Don’t get me wrong, I want everybody to love each other. Find your slice of happiness and share it, I say. Just don’t try to get me to embrace the intellectual nonsense that sand is peanut butter or a civil union is a marriage. Civil right? Hmmm, maybe not. Go contract for whatever you want and more power to you.

          6. kidmercury

            “In NJ, the State gets more of a dollar of profit than the owners of the enterprise. And, that, Sammy, my boy, just ain’t right!”you’re too kind. that’s not just not right — it’s pretty much outright theft. shameful. but you know, it’s not just NJ that has that problem. it’s pretty much the whole world. and that’s the problem!!!

      3. JLM

        In local parlance, that would be described as a “barbed wire enema” and as Martha Stewart would say — “and, that’s a good thang!”

    2. Keenan

      Fred, I agree with the Kid here. People are becoming increasingly apathetic and reliant on others in attitude. People vote based on easy to digest one line platforms; they want lower taxes, with little regard to the impact on their life should taxes be lowered. They do or don”t want healthcare reform with little understanding of the impact to their taxes or their healthcare later in life. They want smaller government, until their is a recession and need unemployment to be extended. Americans are fickle voters not because we have control and understanding of the issues and where we want to go but because we don’t. We’re like kids who say “I hate you Daddy” when he says you can’t stay out till midnight with that bad kid from school who is smoking dope and drinking. Americans are increasingly moving away from true participation. They watch Rush Limbaugh, Glenn Beck and other polarizing people and shows to get their information. We’re not taking the time to educate ourselves. We look to others to do the work for us, and if things aren’t going the way we want we blame everyone and everything else. The bums need to go. But is your Dad a bum because he won’t do what you want? We are the bums as much as they are. This country and all that it offers has begun to spoil us and we are acting just like a spoiled kid. The Declaration of Independence says Life, Liberty and the “PURSUIT” of Happiness. We act like it says Life, Liberty AND Happiness. And vote accordingly.

      1. JLM

        “PURSUIT” damn good point. That word says it all. Not ENTITLEMENT, pursuit damn it.

      2. andyswan

        Actually, we act like it says “Life when convenient to the living, liberty as long as the nanny government doesn’t know better, and the delay of happiness via self-sacrifice to the god of equal misery.”

    3. JLM

      Your comments on the nature of the electorate —- right on target!This election also shows something very interesting. The Obama Perfect Storm was indeed huge. It is however not transferable. It cannot be shared, lent, atomized and spread around.The perfect storm has now passed and the brutal assessment of that portion of the electorate which is informed and engaged is looking for results. As it should be.

  3. DonRyan

    Amen to your post. Maybe we will finally get a chance to clean out the government and take a mulligan. Or not.

  4. Jamie Flinchbaugh

    Dodd will have his chance very soon if these guys have anything to say about it: (http://www.samforussenate.c

  5. tshelton

    Do you remember who we got last time we had a “throw the bums out” moment? Newt Gingrich. Contract for America. The year was 1994.…The problem is that its not just the incumbents who have a bad track record. It is the entire system that sucks. A house cleaning like 1994 will simply bring in a bunch of other crooks. That isn’t what you want. So don’t focus on exchanging one pack of rats for another. What can be done to really change how we are governed?I think technology has a big part of the answer here. The Obama election is an unfinished revolution. Sunlight, engagament, transparency, a seat at the table — we need to have fundamental change in the way we elect our representatives, how they do their work, what voice we have, etc.For example — wondering why net neutrality isn’t going anywhere? How many AT&T executives in white house posts does it take to keep America in the 1990s with telecom policy. Two. Where is that coming out? How do we effect change? This is the important stuff that determines whether our economy continues to lead the world or stagnates.

    1. andrej

      Before discussing what can be done to really change government, think about what the result should be…What kind of government would be approved of by everyone? What would the perfect government look like?

      1. kidmercury

        the US constitution. perfection probably doesn’t exist, but the constitution comes close, IMHO.

    2. fredwilson

      I’m with you ted on all your points.But I think we are not going to get real change until we get rid of a lot of incumbents. We cleaned out a lot of the republican crooks. Now we have to clean out the rest including the democrats

    3. andyswan

      LIMIT THEIR INFLUENCE. That’s it…that’s what the Consitution was designed for. It doesn’t matter if they’re all crooks if their influence is limited to those mandates specifically described in the Constitution and specifically limited by its 10th amendment.Keep government local!

      1. Aaron Klein

        The 10th Amendment is proof that our founders invented the Web 2.0 model: user-centric government that allows rapid innovation that can then scale up.Many of the best ideas are in local government, and get crushed by top-down mandates issued by the feds (or even by states).

      2. Mark Essel

        Nice Andy, I like the simplicity of that approach. We need a hacking governmet movement in the US just as much as a hacking education movement

      3. awatterson

        Why is it automatically assumed that local is more incorruptible? Doesn’t size and scale create barriers to entry for crooks? I know we have to worry about AT&T and Defense Contractors. I also know that I don’t need to worry about the lobbying power of Joe’s Auto garage. That’s not the case with local gov’t where you have to worry about the local dentist influencing the mayor?

        1. kidmercury

          no, but if the local dentist causes problems with the mayor, i will pounce on him and ruin his business. regrettably i do not have the same option with obama. and i will have even less influence as the US gives more and more of its soverignty to organizations like the UN.

          1. awatterson

            sure, but maybe (and i’m not saying this is the case) don’t want YOU alone pouncing on him. Maybe you’ll punish him to harshly or for the wrong reasons.There is safety in scale. There is also power. I want an organization like the ACLU protecting my liberties rather than relying on Joe Lawyer to do so in his spare time. The catch is that accountability has to increase with scale. It’s cliche, but the goal shouldn’t be smaller gov’t. It should be smarter.Local gov’ts couldn’t put a man on the moon. Local gov’ts couldn’t have funded the department of defense where the internet came from.

        2. Dave Pinsen

          Local isn’t less corruptible — we in NJ know plenty about that — but who do you have more access to/influence with, your city councilman or your U.S. Senator?

        3. andyswan

          Because in local government we live among the governing class. We areautomatically more in tune with what is going on.Think about how much easier it is to run for and win a city council seatthan a congressional seat. Think about how much more likely you are to knowsomeone who knows that dentist than know someone that knows that Halliburtonexec.Think about how much more aligned with your community values your owncommunity is, than one 2000 miles away.

  6. D Waserstein

    What we desperately need is term limits. And Bloomberg basically just mandated he be allowed to run again. Ego much there, Mike?The problem is that term limits would require legislation to be passed by the career politicians. Why would they ever self-limit? The answer, of course, is that they wouldn’t.Too Big to Fail? How about Too Entrenched to Legislate?

    1. Greg Gentschev

      I’m pretty skeptical of term limits. I think they often result in politicians who know less about the issues and are thus more reliant on lobbyists and similar types to help them figure out their positions. Entrenched incumbents can be very bad too, of course. I just don’t think this is a problem amenable to a two-word fix.

      1. D Waserstein

        Totally valid. Let’s reform campaign finance for real and outlaw lobbyists while we’re at it.

        1. JLM

          There is nothing inherently wrong with lobbyists. Some of my best friends are lobbyists.It is when lobbyists provide a surefire conduit to obscene amounts of money thereby renting politicians and buying influence, when lobbyists write the damn legislation thereby dumbing down the intellctual rigor of the legislative process, when lobbyists monopolize the time of politicians so that competing thoughts and ideas are thwarted — it is the behavior of unscrupulous lobbyists which is regrettable and reprehensible.Campaign finance reform needs to be absolute because we frankly do not deal well with exceptions or subtlety in that arena.

        2. Dave Pinsen

          Unintended consequences, meet Mr. Waserstein.

    2. JLM

      Term limits is an experiment whose day has come. I heartily applaud term limits.

      1. Dave Pinsen

        Term limits would put more power in unelected hands (e.g., Congressional staff, etc.).

        1. JLM

          Certainly possible but likely more advantageous to America than having a Sen Byrd in any event. I will risk the absinthe on this issue.

  7. LIAD

    In a Democracy, the people get the government they deserve – Alexis de Tocqueville

    1. Peter_Jan

      Not true. In a free market, the people get the company they deserve. In a democracy people are not free not to ‘consume’ the state, which makes them much less powerful in getting the state to do what they want.

      1. scottythebody

        This is such a good point! Everybody talks about free markets being a good thing, but they don’t do anything to free the labor market. Would be very intersting, I think, to drop barriers to immigration for needed labor. For example, we need a lot of labor in the States that is currently being filled illegally. Just let them come do it legally. Likewise, if a skilled worker wants to go to, say, Estonia and work for a startup: let them. Make everything more fluid, then you’d have real pricing. Lettuce might well be worth $7.00/head if the producers had to pay real labor costs. Right now we only have bullshit market prices based on gray or even illegal labor. And to extend that, a city or state somewhere in the world that wants to attract a certain type of industry should be allowed to offer work permission, residency, services and benefits to those who want to come and contribute — regardless of nationality.

        1. Dave Pinsen

          Combining first world welfare states and de facto unlimited, unskilled immigration is an epic fail, as the kids say. You end up with immigrants who consume more in government resources than they pay in taxes, and you increase unemployment and lower wages for native unskilled workers. It makes no economic sense, except perhaps for employers of unskilled labor, who get to privatize their profits from this insourcing while socializing the costs.Re lettuce, enforce our immigration laws and one of three things will happen: lettuce farmers will start paying more to attract domestic workers; they will invest in automation to replace illegal immigrant workers; or they’ll get out of the business entirely and we’ll import our lettuce from Mexico and elsewhere. Any of those three options would be better than the status quo for this country.

          1. JLM

            Before one even begins to confront immigration, it is necessary to acknowledge that immigration laws have never worked in the history of our country. Ever.

          2. Dave Pinsen

            I doubt that, but enforcing our current immigration laws would be pretty simple, if the elites in both major parties wanted to do it: simply demand that employers require a government-issued ID before hiring someone and fine violators steeply.In practice, that demand already exists for white collar work places — try getting a job at Merck, or IBM, or at Union Square Ventures, etc. without providing identification indicating that you are eligible to work in the U.S. Enforce the same discipline on construction contractors, restaurateurs, etc., and most illegals will self-deport. The reason why the government hasn’t done this so far is because Republican elites like the cheap labor for their Chamber of Commerce constituents, and Democratic elites like importing more poor people, who will become reliable Democratic voters when they get amnestied.

          3. JLM

            Actually what you describe is very near what is currently happening in border states right now.Employers have been required to verify citizenship or immigration legality with two separate pieces of identification for some considerable time now. There is a safe harbor provision available to employers and no prudent employer fails to document its efforts to verify legality.Unfortunately, it takes the Dept of Labor and ICE about 6-18 months to verify legality and then the illegal worker simply moves on with his forged documents.Where there is a high presence of illegal labor, the wages tend to be nudged downward to a lower common denominator but when labor is scarce — as it was until recently — wages float upward based solely upon demand and the quality of the labor.Illegal worker subcontractors — the local concrete subcontractor, stone masons, landscapers — are actually quite entrepreneurial and one must respect their level of effort. The quality of their work is often excellent and they compete in the local market based upon demand, availablity and pricing.Your observation about the illegals self-deporting is a keen and astute observation. Most illegals go home for Christmas and those who are apprehended simply return to the border states as if they were simply commuting to work.In Texas, as an example, the entire state south of San Antonio might as well be part of Mexico. I own business interests in the Rio Grande Valley which conduct their business in Spanish. The RGV is part of the USA only by the mistake of the routing of the Rio Grande. In all other respects, it is part of Mexico.

          4. Dave Pinsen

            “but when labor is scarce — as it was until recently”Please. Go back and look at the teen unemployment rate before the current recession. Heck, look at the black adult unemployment rate.As I’m writing this, Fred is about to start his talk at his Donors Choose Meet-Up. Everyone who donated will feel a warm glow. But who’s going to hire these teachers’ students when they graduate?I challenged Fred and others to think about this a couple of comments last week.

          5. JLM

            Let’s agree to disagree on this one with the caveat that I am actually a business owner in a border state and what I am saying is based upon hard facts not conjecture.With operations in Texas, Alabama, Florida and South Carolina — we can tell the difference quite easily.In the industries which employ illegal labor (building trades, distribution, transportation, hospitality, food service) you can take it to the bank that there is no pushing and shoving amongst anglo high school grads and illegals when the sun is shining. These illegals work harder and longer. They prevail in any head to head competition in no small measure because anglo HS grads have other opportunities.Remember even today in central Texas unemployment is still less than 6% with most unemployment in SOC 410 and 430 — retail, sales, administrative.Remember also that those oil royalty checks often find their way to Texas. And, that’s a good thang!

          6. Dave Pinsen

            Fair enough, JLM,But take my word for it that we have plenty of illegals up here too. I’m not commenting on this from another planet because I don’t live in a border state. Generally, when you see Mongooses locked up behind a restaurant in NJ in January, it’s not because there are a bunch of 13 year old American teens working there. It’s because it’s because we have Real ID driver’s licenses here.I have no doubt about the work ethic of illegal immigrants. But we can’t swap out our current unemployed for them. And they do lower wages and increase unemployment among native unskilled workers, according to research (not conjecture) by Harvard’s George Borjas.Plus, empirical studies (e.g. by UCLA’s Telles and Ortiz) show that the descendants of Mexican immigrants haven’t exactly followed the Ellis Island path of socioeconomic advancement over successive generations. From the link,”The majority of fourth generation Mexican Americans continue to live in Hispanic neighborhoods, marry other Hispanics, and think of themselves as Mexican. And while Mexican Americans make financial strides from the first to the second generation, economic progress halts at the second generation, and poverty rates remain high for later generations. Similarly, educational attainment peaks among second generation children of immigrants, but declines for the third and fourth generations.”Maybe conditions are different in central Texas, but the DOL gives an unemployment rate of 8.2% for Texas statewide, and national unemployment rates of 12.7% for Latinos and 15.4% for African Americans. It doesn’t seem that labor is scarce enough to require the importation of more unskilled workers.

          7. JLM

            Remember that we started this chat with my observation that our immigration laws have never worked. I am not in any way advocating illegal immigration but I do think it is necessary for rational folks to think about the real probability of getting the toothpaste back in the tube before making any new laws. Let’s see if we can enforce the existing laws before we add any new ones.I suspect that the experience in upward mobility amongst Hispanic families is quite different in places in the US where they were the original owners of the land — such as Texas. This is not the barrio. Texas was part of Mexico before it became part of the US and its Hispanic culture is rich, well developed, family oriented, work ethic focused, appreciative of religion and quite respectful of education as the fulcrum for leveraging continued advancement.While you may be right about the fact that Hispanics stick to their own kind, there is clearly no animus toward “white folk” as may impact African American race relations. Of course, they were also never enslaved by Whitey. My children spoke Spanish before they learned English. I must say that I have not consciously thought about a person’s Hispanic nature in any way that I can even recall for literally decades.Most importantly, they were the original inventors of Tex-Mex cuisine which in and of itself cures a great number of ills past, present and future. By way of full disclosure, I just had dinner at Mi Tierra in the Old San Antone Mercado so this very conversation is Tex-Mex fueled.I am surely not advocating for the importation of any illegal immigrants or unskilled workers but I will say that the Hispanic culture is one of hard work, tight families, morality disciplined by the teachings of the Catholic Church and a very enviable work ethic.They are also workers who acquire skills at a rapid rate. I think that cement finishing, rock masonry, painting, landscaping and ranching skills are in their DNA. Where they have supplanted unskilled labor, the Mexican worker does not stay unskilled for long.In thinking about unemployment rates you have to remember that Texas is quite large and the distance from Brownsville to Texhoma is equal to the distance from Dallas to Chicago.There are several different distinct regional economies — RGV, El Paso, West Texas, the High Plains, Central Texas, the Gold Crescent and the Piney Woods. In addition, you have several world class big cities in Dallas, Ft Worth, Houston, San Antonio, Austin, Corpus Christi and El Paso.In the oil patch, unemployment is virtually non-existent the spawn of $80 oil and in Central Texas unemployment continues to be less than 6%.

          8. Dave Pinsen

            JLM,If memory serves, elsewhere in this thread you were complaining about your tax burden. Here you seem fairly sanguine about the importation of unskilled immigrants, who, research shows, tend to consume more in government resources than they pay in taxes. Further, when they become amnestied (or when their American-born kids turn 18) they will vote to increase your tax burden — you know most of them aren’t going to be joining the Club for Growth, right? There seems to be some cognitive dissonance at work here.

          9. JLM

            No, actually you have misread my sentiment completely. If you review what I have said I initiated the conversation by saying —“Before one even begins to confront immigration, it is necessary to acknowledge that immigration laws have never worked in the history of our country. Ever.”Count me amongst those who favor completing the fence and sealing off our borders. Completely.I must confess to very much liking Hispanics in general and illegals in particular. I can’t help liking a guy who is willing to risk life and limb to get a tough job. It is the closet liberal part of my makeup.I see something fundamentally unfair about my immigrant family looking down its nose at somebody else’s more recently arrived immigrant family.I see a man not how he enters our country but rather what he does after he is here and I admire greatly the skilled craftsmen in our country who entered illegally with no skills but learned useful skills.The political implications will have to fend for themselves but I can also say that the notion that Hispanics will become knee jerk Democrats is not true. George W Bush — who speaks very good Spanish — went to the Valley and Corpus Christi and garnered about 45% of the Hispanic vote.There is absolutely no reason that an entrepreneurial, hardworking, God fearing, strong family segment of our society should be ceded to the Democrats.Remember that “cognitive dissonance” implies some discomfort about seemingly contrary thoughts or beliefs. I have absolutely no problem embracing the opposite sides of many, many issues with not an iota of discomfort. My middle name is “cognitive dissonance”.

          10. Dave Pinsen

            “Count me amongst those who favor completing the fence and sealing off our borders. Completely.”Fair enough, JLM, but the most effective way to enforce our immigration laws is at the employer level. We already do that with white collar employers, as I noted elsewhere in this thread.”I must confess to very much liking Hispanics in general and illegals in particular. I can’t help liking a guy who is willing to risk life and limb to get a tough job.”I share your feelings, and your empathy for hardworking immigrants, legal or otherwise, but the facts lead me to different conclusions. Telles and Ortiz aren’t anti-Hispanic either. But the facts they found from their research are that descendants of Mexican immigrants tend to remain much poorer and less educated than the majority population, even after four generations.”There is absolutely no reason that an entrepreneurial, hardworking, God fearing, strong family segment of our society should be ceded to the Democrats.”Re strong families, Heather Mac Donald of the City Journal, drawing on CDC numbers, noted,”Forty-five percent of all Hispanic births occur outside of marriage, compared with 24 percent of white births and 15 percent of Asian births.”Any group that remains poorer than average and contains a minority of net income tax payers will vote for the party that promises to tax you to give more benefits to the poor and lower earners. It’s in their economic interests to do so. Cultural factors are secondary. Many African American have cultural/religious differences with Democratic elites, and yet African American are the most reliable Democratic voters. There are plenty of churchgoers in the African American community, but not so many Republicans.

          11. Dave Pinsen

            Ah, sorry about screwing up the hyperlink there. If I weren’t a guest and had editing ability, I’d fisx it.

          12. COMRADITY

            Hold the phone! Using a statistic like out of wedlock childbirth to question the integrity of the family values of the US Latino community is distorting the whole picture. Yes, US Hispanics aspire to US style big expensive weddings in addition to maintaining their strong family values. They are also more likely to save and not go into debt to pay for their dreams. I also suggest it would be counterproductive to assume that US Hispanics are poorer than the average HH. As this article points out, many US Latino media companies (disclosure: we have an interest in one anxiously await the 2010 Census. We have data and anecdotal evidence that this market has the potential to contribute significantly to economic growth. For example:”Earlier this year, Forrester Research said Hispanic Gen Y consumers 18-28 are “outpacing” their non-Hispanic peers in the amount of mobile activity and use of features in which they engage. Those young Hispanics are also more interested in technology; Forrester found 72 percent of them said it is important, compared to 44 percent of non-Hispanics.”Finally, I think the whole undocumented immigrant and taxes debate is very short-sighted. The implication is that the immigrant is undocumented solely to avoid paying taxes. That’s just a very non-productive place to start a discussion about what to do. Since US Latinos are even more important proportionately, to the younger employed social security payer, they are a critical source of tax revenues for the social security program which has a disproportionate number of older people spending relative to the younger people paying in.Finally, for security reasons and tax base reasons, I do not understand why the US does not require an identity card for every person over 18. Other countries do.

          13. Dave Pinsen

            “The implication is that the immigrant is undocumented solely to avoid paying taxes.”Where are you getting that from? I never claimed that. What I claimed (and what is the case) is that unskilled Mexican immigrants (and their descendants) tend to consume more in government resources than they pay in taxes.””Earlier this year, Forrester Research said Hispanic Gen Y consumers 18-28 are “outpacing” their non-Hispanic peers in the amount of mobile activity and use of features in which they engage.”Yeah, that refutes academic research by Telles and Ortiz (and others) showing that fourth generation Mexican Americans remain poorer and less educated than average Americans.I agree with you on the ID cards — at least they should be required if you want to vote or work in this country.

          14. COMRADITY

            “..unskilled Mexican immigrants (and their descendants) tend to consume more in government resources than they pay in taxes.” I’m sure there is truth to what you are saying, since unskilled laborers of any heritage probably consume more gov’t resources than they pay in taxes. It would be a shame if people, who are scanning these comments, failed to pick up the “unskilled” qualification and assumed you were referring to US Hispanics, in general.And I looked at a topline press release of the Telles and Ortiz study findings.… Too bad California Mexican Americans are not getting more government resources when it comes to education. Lack of education appears to be the reason 3rd and 4th generation Mexican Americans in California do not continue to advance at the same rate 2nd generation does. Is this the fault of the Mexican Americans? Hardly. We all know that Proposition 13 froze property taxes and reduced funding for California’s education system. This research suggests that even these schools are good enough to help 2nd generation kids learn to read, speak english, and basic math. Beyond that, for example, preparing for advanced education, these schools are not doing the job. Unfortunately, Mexican American parents assume that the school officials and educators know better than they. Because in Mexico, educators are a highly respected class. So unlike better educated Americans (who don’t perceive educators with such high esteem – especially in the California public school system) who get involved in the school administration to get what their kid needs, Mexican American parents assume the American schools are as good or better than in Mexico.Finally, education has absolutely no relationship to the penetration and use of mobile phones. In fact, a global macro view of the numbers might even suggest a reverse relationship.

    2. fredwilson

      That’s true. Its also the worst form of government until you consider the alternatives

  8. bijan

    oh man. this is a great post/rant. love it. couldn’t agree more.i’m a democrat (at least for now) and I’m so done with Reid and the old guys that have been sitting there forever.

  9. chartreuse

    I spent some time in New Jersey this year. I had a better chance of winning than Corizine.You are right. People want change. Real change. And getting rid of the bums is (hopefully) just the start.

    1. fredwilson

      We’ve been missing you around here chartreuse. Welcome back!!!!!

      1. chartreuse

        Thanks Brother. I still ( like everyone else) read you everyday. I just felt the urge to comment.

        1. fredwilson

          whatever i did to cause that urge, i need to do more of it

  10. kidmercury

    on the subject of political change, i recommend and a return to real change and honest capitalism!

    1. Mark Essel

      Will check those out kid, I’ve been catching up on wikipedia. John stuart Mill “on liberty” and Thomas Paine. Those gents really shook down the concepts.John Stuart Mill… Paine…

  11. Peter_Jan

    Fred, I too hope the anti incumbent mood continues, especially for the industry called government. The key, however, will be to channel that mood into real creative destruction, not a repeat of the mistakes of the past.Let me clarify what I mean here. Government is a market with:- Extremely high barriers to entry (You need to win a revolution, war or >50% in a country with enough presidential power concentration to do a country ‘startup’)- High customer lock-in (You have to pay taxes and moving has high professional and personal costs)The lack of competition and high pricing power has resulted, results and will keep on resulting in terrible inefficiencies such as wars, victimless crimes, lower economic growth, etcetera.Moral of the story: These market conditions of the government industry won’t change by electing new players in the current framework. We need to build companies with the goal of changing the market conditions. Technology and the internet will play a crucial role in creating the efficient markets for law, policing, …

    1. fredwilson

      What kinds of companies interest you in this thesis?

      1. Dave Pinsen

        Mr. Lee’s Greater Hong Kong?

        1. Guest

          The goal would be to create a market to allow all Mr. Lee’s of this world to start their own Greater Hong Kong, or at least to promote their own set of regulations.

      2. Guest

        Although it is a non profit, Patri Friedman’s The Seasteading Institute aims to build permanently floating cities on the ocean, starting with small units so people can sail away if they don’t like the rules their neighbors try to impose. This would keep entry barriers and customer lock-in low. (I did a lunch presentation on this topic with a more detailed economic analysis at my former employer, send me an email if you want it.)In terms of for profit startups, companies working around semantic search or reputation have something to do with the solution, although – as far as I know – none of them is founded with the intent of replacing the government (yet).The key problem is that reputational feedback is imperfect for actions that highly benefit a few at the individually little expense of many, because it is not rational to spend considerable time or money fighting the action given the low individual expense. This is easy to see for policies such as bailouts and subsidies, but is also true for crimes such as rape and murder where – next to the obviously devastating effects to the individual victim – the entire society gets uneasy about. The same is true for ‘crimes of nature’ such as cancer, where many people want to help out people but face high transaction costs.The solution would be to create a reputation market where people can make reputational claims about people by pooling money to have private investigators proof or dismiss the claim as well as to organise a (legal) reputation revange. To keep it legal only licensed detectives can do certain types of investigations and you pre-approve the revanges. Proof is voted on by the community. You can take the unproven claims to make alghorithms to allocate money from people looking to solve a category of claims rather than individual ones, and take the proven claims to do the same for people looking to give money to victims of proven claims. You make money on the float. Claim management, claim proof voting and money allocation alghorithms can all be innovated upon by third parties via the API, and the startup simply owns the reputation platform just as Twitter owns the real time talk platform. Third parties can get a cut of the float and make money in other ways they invent.A few examples of how this would work in practice:- Somebody get cancer, you list a claim he cancer in his profile (this type of claim could be free to make), in the community the best practice to proof for the claim is by doctor’s note so little money is pooled for this, the claim gets verified, people who know the person donate a few $ each and via cancer help alghorithms the patients also receives money from money pools.- A murder happens, people start accusing suspects (such a claim can only be made when donating x$ to the proof pool, we decide the number in the beginning but eventually we or third parties use the data to optimize solve murder/don’t accuse innocents trade-off), private investigators start proving or disproving claims to win the pooled money for a suspect, eventually the murderer gets caught, money can be pooled to launch public awareness campaigns about this individual.- A politicians votes a special interest law, proof of voting is easy to do, money can be pooled to launch public awareness campaigns or to support competing candidates with broader interests in mind.Such a system would complement and (due to its outperformance) eventually substitute government’s solution for crimes (police, law, courts) and sickness and other hard times (social security, medicine subsidies, …), without the customer lock-in and with entry barriers as low as taking the API and innovating on best practices.So, what’s your feedback? Given that team and other variables are OK, would an idea such as this be fundable?

        1. Guest

          By the way, I plan to launch this site somewhere in 2010, using the profits of my current startup (which is about creating a more efficient affiliate marketing market, which is much easier to make money on as you are closer to the actual transactions and are not creating a new market).

          1. ShanaC

            Quick question- does anyone here know anyone who has been beaten or raped? I do. I’m lucky- I have a few male friends who have put me on their “louise list” (When I found out there was such a thing I freaked out though)If so, you know that you will quickly run into witchhunt territory. Do you really want to do that?

          2. Guest

            The witch hunt only happens because it costs people nothing to start accusing offenders. Pooling money to make a claim solves that issue.

        2. kidmercury

          i love it… much so that i’m envious. this is the kind of thing that can really make a positive difference that we all benefit from, so best of luck in your quest to get a piece of the emerging market in government.i am working on something a bit similar, but my approach centers more on finding the influencers that can inspire changes in behavior. that is why i obsess on communities for key digital influencers, i.e. blog stars. i think the key to your reputational model, which i think is fantastic, is in creating the right niche community that collectively can create the reputational model most appropriate for illustrate what i mean, there is a racial supremacy community, i think it is stormfront dot org. obviously reputation in that community would be very different than the concept of high reputation in another community.perhaps it is my one tracked mind, but i think the biggest challenge for the government solution is marketing. i mean people are just deathly afraid of solving hte government problem, in spite of the fact that it’s the biggest problem with the most lucrative solution.also, something you may find interesting peter-jan, is how fred went about raising money for donor’s choose. donor’s choose is a charity that tries to raise money for public school teachers in the USA but does so in a way that lets them work around govt (not sure if you are familiar with this blog so just explaining in case you are not 🙂 ). in a way, i think this is how the AVC community is subverting govt. do you think this is similar in a way to what you are talking about, or have i misinterpreted you?this is why i focus on influencers as the key, because i don’t think this would this work unless fred was excited about it and keen on using his social influence to promote it and create a community culture where contributing was the cool behavior to adopt — a boost to one’s reputation within the community.

          1. Guest

            Key influencers can indeed be key in promoting the site and could have their own alghorithm just as twitter users have their lists. The site can be seen as a Donor’s Choose but with mechanisms to verify in a distributed way whether the listed donation requests are valid.Good point about different definitions of reputation. The answer to that is twofold:1. People stop having a lot of irrational beliefs when they have to pay for them. How many people that vote against gay marriage would pay for the incremental cost of detecting gay couples,hunting them, sentencing them and opposing free market opposition? Not many and they will be outbid by the market.2. Innovation in the proof validation by third parties should lead to a freedom loving market solution for what exactly is reputation, again because violence is much too expensive when you have to pay it yourself.

          2. kidmercury

            hey peter-jan,i am not 100% sure i fully understand your model. do you want to create one such reputation system — like one country? or do you want to create a system that lets anyone roll their own country/reputation system/monetary policy/etc?i am not so sure money can make people rational. folks spend money all the time on irrational things. in fact, in reference to your example, i know some folks who are really made uncomfortable by gay people; those folks would pay to live in a totally heterosexual society. remember that some religious organizations already do spend a lot of money campaigning against gay marriage.i am quite delighted you see the opportunity to create value for yourself and freedom for others. if you have a blog or somewhere you are promoting your vision, i’d love to check it out.

          3. ShanaC

            Eactly- witchunts happen because they happen. Money is not the lead cause, Other societal locks are. Paying people will not help or not htelp. it might make it worse.

          4. Guest

            Anti gay groups pay money to lobby for a ‘witch hunt’ paid for by Washington (the tax payer).Consider American anti gay groups vs African gays. There is no nation state covering both so these groups interact in a free reputation market. How many American anti gays spend money to locate and punish gays in Africa? That’s how many of these anti gay groups would pay to ‘witch hunt’ american gays in a free market reputation system.Summary: Free market forces to pay for your reputational desires (like punishing behavior you don’t agree with), for that you need to pool money.

          5. ShanaC

            Yes- now count the openly gay people in underdeveloped areas of Africa who are out. Or women who are not involved in marriage rapes. You actually can see the difference in the West Bank versus the Gaza Strip, because teh West Bank has a much more developed economy. There are much less honor killings there. Sadly.Impure Free Market Behavior allows allows people like me to have choice of lifestyle.I come from one of those extremely conservative communities in the US. Because I grew up here- I have market choice. And If I chose to stay within the bounds of that community, I can use market choice to push parts of that community to my will to protect my body and my property. I can leave. I do not have to transact, or I can chose to transact only under certain conditions. It’s extremely radicalizing to actual right wing communities that you think you know well; their children are leaving them because of this transcational problem.In soem cases, one of the statical rates was at about 50%. Other instances have politcal bearings moving. Read things like the Pew-HERI study. Washington is not who you worry about, it’s what happens when they have no traction with their young base, who cares only about the enviroment and isn’t sure about god or very pure sexuality anymore.

          6. Guest

            I don’t intent to create new ‘countries’, just a system (site) in which people can make claims about other people (yes, including ‘witch hunt’ or gossip things) but where people have to put up money for the claims they believe in (‘put your money where your mouth is’) and where private investigators (to be legal this would be limited to licensed detectives) can proof or disproof a claim to get the cumulative money for that claim.The ‘to each his own reputation system’ is true to the extent that everybody would be able to suggest an optimal alghorithm to accept proof by detectives (what % of votes do you need? Is each vote equally important?…), to allocate money for general (rather than specific) claims, etcetera.Sure there is a portion of the population so uncomfortable with gays that they would move in neighboorhoods that are gay free. The point is that these people will self select and neighboorhoods will differentiate. Compare that with today where those people form special interest groups to force their way of life on ALL citizens.Law, courts and punishment will not be universal in a free market. Like everything worth having, the free market provides those things in differentiated ways allowing people to self select their most preferred circumstances. Overall, this system is highly Pareto efficient, because it allows for interactions that are now made impossible by the national monopoly called the state.

          7. kidmercury

            yes. liberty and the internet are about self-selected communities in my opinion. i’m still not sure on the money part, just because i don’t know how much of a gauge money is outside of investment/speculation matters. for instance, i might say, “i think XYZ is going to $100” but that statement takes on a whole new level of sincerity if i actually paid $100 for XYZ. but that is investment/speculation, an inherently monetary matter. i’m not sure if money can lend credibility in other areas; i think it can pollute integrity as well.i find your idea very promising though and i look forward to hearing more about it. this is the type of cultural revolution the internet is here to give us.

          8. ShanaC

            There is no transparency in this system- how do I know this detective isn’t going to do what he wants.

          9. Guest

            The proof provided by the detective has to be approved by the community.

          10. Guest

            About the money I don’t intent to create a new currency. I just want people to pool money for causes and claims they deem worthy. See the money as a volunatary tax paid to get the service people want, if they want it.

          11. Guest

            Mercury Kid, sorry I read your post a bit too fast: Yes, the goal would be to allow everyone to suggest their own reputation system and to allow everyone to pick the one they like the most. They indicate their preferences with money (used to change the world or parts of it according to their preferred reputation system).What I am describing is a free market with low entry barriers and lots of competitors. In a free market, people are never irrational (unless they somehow make decisions against their own will). The irrationality I want to solve is that free voting allows people to lobby for crazy policy to be paid for by others, not to stop them from financing those policies themselves (because people can spend their money any way they wish).Anti freedom voters gaining power by using only their (and not taxpayers) money in a free market is as likely as car haters raising so much money in a free market to stop everyone from producing and buying cars. Not going to happen, unless is self selected little communities of car haters (who feel so strong about it they want to move together for it).

        3. ShanaC

          This is not pareto optimal at all. Currency is the most effecient platform we have for valuing reputation, which is why we invented fiat currency to begin with. In fact, if you think about it, the original uses of gold where just that it was scare and pretty- it had little practical use at all. Pure fiat. In China it used to be these odd looking small bronze axe heads during the Shang Dynasty at Anyang. Your reputation is already staked on the DEY. (boy am I tired, that should be dollar euro yen/yuan) having non-over the counter the trades of reputation points would be faster

          1. Guest

            The point of what I described is that using money to value reputation (or make claims about it) is most efficient!Also, I am afraid I don’t agree about fiat money being such a great invention – unless you like wars and inflation.How do you see thos ‘non-over the counter trades of reputation points’ exactly?

          2. ShanaC

            Over the counter trades on non transparent. We saw that in 2007. And we fight wars over goods. Gold is just a subsitution. We fight wars over people, land, water, energy, food, stupid political power sturggles that remind us of this sort of stuff.We do not fight wars over gold. If we fight wars over gold, it to make sure we have enough of above.The move to of the west might have stabilized us away from fighting each other away for people land water energy food, stupid political struggles. Now we just fight other people.

          3. kidmercury

            gold’s practical value comes from the fact that it is naturally scarce, does not deterioriate over time, easy to count, easy to divide, easy to transport, difficult to counterfeit. this is why it can and has served as money for thousands of years — very few things meet these requirements. the fact that gold has no other use is actually perfect, as it ensures the money supply will not be affected by other factors (for instance silver is an industrial metal, if demand for industrial demand for silver goes up, that could distort an economy using silver as money….but since gold is completely useless it does not have this problem)

          4. ShanaC

            Actually gold is used in Microchips. A small amount…Nor does paper money. And Conterfieting is a very small percetage of the money in the system. And you can have fake gold, or gyp people by shaving off the edges. (Which is also bad)Nothing is new under the sun. Gold is a form of fiat money. And it is hard to transport. It’s why we switched to paper money. It’s heavy- especially compared to electrons.remember this- the first stage of an Orthodox Jewish marriage requires the woman to be bought* for one prutah or it’s equivalents. Technically it’s on the gold standard. Roman coins were on the gold standard. that value flucatated then, and it fluctated now. Today it is equivalent between 2 and 5 cents. Though it is reccomended you bring a quarter, just to be sure.* Yes buy. And the value was kept low on purpose so basically anyone could get married. The text was written in roughly the 4th century. If they recognized that it waas fiat, we can to. Let’s move on.

      3. ShanaC

        Peter-jan’s concept is too complicated. it would be much easier to just take the points system as we have now, game currency, and back it with a float of BEY and commodities.Make a fully functioning bank as it were, both commercial/investment/trading house. Slowly get rid of the BEY over a few years and you have a bank. You can create a loan. You can create an option of points, you can mark books of them. No one has bothered, mostly because the social infrastructure isn’t there yet.It’s about the social change side, not about the code. Not everyone with foursquare, for example, has a little dohicky application to play with. A Bank that is secure enough to handle all of foursquares points, that’s really out there. What’s the Euro worth of a Twitter follower? It may not be smart to get rid of the BEY currency as basket. It has power- it’s ~80% of transactions worldwide. What you want to be able to do is have game points/social points be equivalent to real cash and to be able to make purchases on that cash. This world needs to move off an advertising model exclusively, needs to find itself in an institutional building model: It means figuring out how actual behavior translates from real life into is digital counterpart. This world needs a bank, just as much as it needs digital schoolsroom and digital lawfirms. And it needs to run parallel to physical banks, physcial schools, and physical lawfirms. That’s augemented reality.I actually went to my comp sci lab to try and find people to code it. No one will do it for me right now Combo of Midterms and Breaking into games. It’s not the code is complicated, it’s the following:1) You need someone to really investigate the idea of what is a market cap in this space. I actually know someone who might do it, in New York, an out of work guy from the OECD. No one even knows how to fully phrase the macro-economic questions involved. Disqus would now be a fake country. With inflation. That can disappear. The reason you are making a fake bank is so you can move your assets between your fake countries, ala 16th century mercatile banks and gold. Most of them disspeared too. The impact of those economies are still with us though. How do you translate that idea onto the internet with points?2) How do you calculate the float of a repuation point? How do you hedge it? How do you make a derivative of it? Same thing in Say World of Warcraft. My friends thinks it’s impossible to do, and think I’m ridiculous for asking.3) Legal- World of Warcraft and Zynga would be totally disrupted by a S&L type system making loans and expecting fees returned. Their models expect people to purchase stuff. A bank would run counterintutive to this- they may not immedioately get any actual cash ever. (Well not Zynga) Or any sort of book of business of fake game points to real money. it’s extrodinarly disruptive and technically violates there terms of service. How do you build a functioning modern bank despite the technicallities of the SEC, other regulators, and the fact that you are giving up an idea that may or may not exist.4) A bank like this, especially one that allows floating derivatives of social networks and games against each others on the investment bank side, based off the total cap of points and coins inside games, basically means you would have leading indicators beyond users and the growth of users about how well a company that social networking technology is doing. A steady trade might be good to a value investor in a basket. Volitility and churn would show up, because it means the currency, if the “fake country”/company is growing really poorly past a certain point. It would show up. You can’t hide your country’s production after all, even it is just rating movies. It would be a hugely valuable tool to investors in these companies before they go public, and it would open up the possibility that they can be traded without being traded as public companies. Huge predicition market elements….I really need to consult a banking expert: It seems totally doable, and for some reason, after the crash, totally reforming the banking system became my dream. But we’ve been through that already. I have a challenge to live up to, after all.I overly thought this one out, didn’t I.

        1. ShanaC

          The about had Bey instead of DEy. Mostly because I’m tired. it’s irritating me, so I am reposting with grammtical corrections until I can get to a functioning computer.Peter-jan’sconcept is too complicated. it would be much easier to just take thepoints system as we have now, game currency, and back it with a floatof DEY and commodities.Make a fully functioning bank as it were,both commercial/investment/trading house. Slowly get rid of the DEYover a few years and you have a bank. You can create a loan. You cancreate an option of points, you can mark books of them. No one hasbothered, mostly because the social infrastructure isn’t there yet.It’sabout the social change side, not about the code. Not everyone withfoursquare, for example, has a little dohicky application to play with.A Bank that is secure enough to handle all of foursquares points,that’s really out there. What’s the Euro worth of a Twitter follower? It may not be smart to get rid of the DEY. It makes up about 80% mof all purchases. What you really want to do is make points and game currency equivalent to real cash and tobe able to make purchases on that cash. This world needs to move off anadvertising model exclusively, needs to find itself in an institutionalbuilding model: It means figuring out how actual behavior translatesfrom real life into is digital counterpart. This world needs a bank,just as much as it needs digital schoolsroom and digital lawfirms. Andit needs to run parallel to physical banks, physcial schools, andphysical lawfirms. That’s augemented reality.I actually went tomy comp sci lab to try and find people to code it. No one will do itfor me right now Combo of Midterms and Breaking into games. It’s notthe code is complicated, it’s the following:1) You need someoneto really investigate the idea of what is a market cap in this space. Iactually know someone who might do it, in New York, an out of work guyfrom the OECD. No one even knows how to fully phrase the macro-economicquestions involved. Disqus would now be a fake country. With inflation.That can disappear. The reason you are making a fake bank is so you canmove your assets between your fake countries, ala 16th centurymercatile banks and gold. Most of them disspeared too. The impact ofthose economies are still with us though. How do you translate thatidea onto the internet with points?2) How do you calculate thefloat of a repuation point? How do you hedge it? How do you make aderivative of it? Same thing in Say World of Warcraft. My friendsthinks it’s impossible to do, and think I’m ridiculous for asking.3)Legal- World of Warcraft and Zynga would be totally disrupted by aS&L type system making loans and expecting fees returned. Theirmodels expect people to purchase stuff. A bank would runcounterintutive to this- they may not immedioately get any actual cashever. (Well not Zynga) Or any sort of book of business of fake gamepoints to real money. it’s extrodinarly disruptive and technicallyviolates there terms of service. How do you build a functioning modernbank despite the technicallities of the SEC, other regulators, and thefact that you are giving up an idea that may or may not exist.4)A bank like this, especially one that allows floating derivatives ofsocial networks and games against each others on the investment bankside, based off the total cap of points and coins inside games,basically means you would have leading indicators beyond users and thegrowth of users about how well a company that social networkingtechnology is doing. A steady trade might be good to a value investorin a basket. Volitility and churn would show up, because it means thecurrency, if the “fake country”/company is growing really poorly past acertain point. It would show up. You can’t hide your country’sproduction after all, even it is just rating movies. It would be ahugely valuable tool to investors in these companies before they gopublic, and it would open up the possibility that they can be tradedwithout being traded as public companies. Huge predicition marketelements….I really need to consult a banking expert: It seemstotally doable, and for some reason, after the crash, totally reformingthe banking system became my dream. But we’ve been through thatalready. I have a challenge to live up to, after all.I overly thought this one out, didn’t I.

          1. Guest

            Hi ShanaC,It is probably me but I don’t really understand what you are saying here.Could you please take a few concrete examples (cancer, murder, special interest politician, …) and explain me how it would work in practice?Thanks!

          2. ShanaC

            You just need to make sure I can a) find a way to make this disqus point can be turned into some real dollar valu, so I can turn into some real product at will. That needs a bnank, and access to some markets. That’s it. We need to make a market. And people who want to make markets.And you want loans. Just because, you never know when someone who will want more disqus points to do something. Maybe it is because diqus points are a cheaper way to access dollars for cancer medications. Maybe because they want to be flamers. I don’t know. it’s a loan. You hope the person uses it well. You assess credit rsik and let it go. There is information assymtry and that’s it.

          3. ShanaC

            The internet in other wods, can’t cure cancer. it can cause cash to be created, move faster, more effeciently ,and casue jobs to exst that didn’t exist before. I’m sure in Mr. Lee’s world, there were people who worked exclusively on the internet. And got paid on the internet.NBut they used their money for real food in the real world.Got it?

          4. Guest

            I get that you pay real food with real money (I won’t go into the debate whether fiat money is real money), but this has really nothing to do with my idea. My site is not about finding the person with the universally best reputation (which could be done by trading disqus points IF the population was well represented), it is about creating a market where one dimensional reputation (claims about one aspect of one’s reputation) can be made, verified and acted upon.(Obviously you could also make a claim about a person’s entire reputation (‘this guy is the best dad ever’), but they would not be actionnable enough to attract enough money to verify them.) Markets get exponentially more efficient with specialization. Reputation is no exception.

          5. ShanaC

            I would disagree- I think one of the reason we are not purchasing with a bazillion currencies is that is not effecient. One of the reasons we basically have national currencies is national pride, but it’s a small fraction of actual purchases.I think it would actually be the most effecient sitaution if there was a unified internet currency. Everyone used the same thing. Same exepreince. Transfers easily. You know what is going to happen. Think og your first credit card transaction on the internet. Very hard pyschologically. Now that everone does it, very easy. Should be the same with internet money. It will be a lot easier if some countries fall, others get bigger (not too bigger) and we manage systemic risk- but all use the same money.

          6. kidmercury

            i think conversion to “real” (meaning state ordered, against the will of the people) currencies is important, although i think getting merchants to accept virtual currencies is a huge part. in this way, a virtual economy can emerge that threatens/weakens “real” economies.

    2. kidmercury

      oh boy…peter-jan gets kid mercury’s vote for comment of the day, week, month…..YES! govt is the emerging market to watch for, all the more lucrative because everyone is afraid of starts with the virtual currency. like mayer amschel rothschild said, “give me control over a nation’s money supply and i care not who makes its laws.” even the most promising governmental efforts center around reforming US and global monetary policy.but of course, existing governments will legislate against their competiton. and therein lies the problem. until, that is, existing governments lose all their credibility, and can no longer crowdsource the enforcement of their edicts…..

      1. Guest

        Thanks for the feedback Kid Mercury.Regarding virtual currency I certainly agree the state will defend their monopoly at all cost. It’s too profitable for them and too few people care. I am sure you know about the problems Peter Thiel faced when building PayPal.Where there is an opportunity though, in my opinion, is in complementing (and eventually substituting) government in judging on reputation and in allocating money to causes related to that reputation. These are two aspects that statists claim only governments can do, so it is up to us to prove them wrong.If you want and find the time, please have a look at my reply to Fred Wilson above where I explain how I would create an efficient reputation market. I am looking forward to your libertarian feedback.

  12. baba12

    The day the poor folks in this country realize that they have the power they will remove everyone from office at every level, no matter which party.For too long the rich have managed to indoctrinate the poor with the message that if they don’t vote for the RICH they would never have the ability to become rich themselves.It has been a lousy past 50 yrs in this country if you are poor, sure you have some folks making it through and that is the myth/coolaid the poor have been sold on.Does not matter which party you belong to as elected officials most have not really delivered for the masses.It has been a slow and steady decline in the quality of life for poor folks and the message has been it is all about INDIVIDUAL LIBERTY/INDIVIDUAL FREEDOM, half the poor don’t know the meaning of liberty.Those who read this blog I wonder have seen Michael Moore’s movie Capitalism, if not maybe you will see it.I am hoping that the poor will finally awaken and we shall have a revolution, but for that they have to realize they have nothing to loose, right now they still believe they have a lot to loose.Id like to see a whole sale replacement of elected officials at every position in this country.

    1. Mark Essel

      Disruption in business occurs when something better /cheaper/faster replaces something less effective. To realize a great change you are challenged with creating something better, and gathering others to your cause.Simply shouting “I’m not rich”, “life is not fair”, “government Sux” doesn’t cause change. A well reasoned and thought “constitution” created by our most brilliant and compassionate minds would be a stronger platform for change. Look to the forefathers of the US.

    2. Keenan

      Baba brother, I have to disagree with you on this one. The role of government is not to do it for the poor, but to create opportunity. There is more opportunity for the poor to get out of poverty than ever before and more than any country in the world. Let’s be clear, I’m not talking about being rich. I’m talking about NOT BEING POOR. We’ve made this rich poor thing a zero-sum game. Too many of what we call poor in this country, eat everyday, have a pack a day cigarette habit, have cell phones, and cable tv.It is almost impossible for someone who wants to go to college not to. Education is the key to escaping poverty and our Gov. has made it accessible to anyone. Our government has made it easy as 1,2,3 to start a business, the greatest sign of economic advancement in the world.We need to change how we define the governments role in helping the poor and its population. I say we measure it’s ability to provide or protect “opportunity” and I give our Gov. an A in this category.

    3. JLM

      Baba, allow me to respectfully disagree with you, my friend. America is the VERY BEST country on Earth to be poor, because you CAN become rich.I know this first hand. I have lived it and it is not “theory”, it is experience.While there is much to improve in our great country, the fake class warfare of the rich v the poor is not where the improvements are going to come from.The clash of political philosophies and governing philosophy will be drawn along the line of two alternatives —Does one tax the rich to serve the poor?orDoes one empower the poor to become rich?

  13. satch

    Usually I disagree with you pretty vehemently on the (hard) political front. Not this time! At this point I just think I’d like to see the squatters out too.

    1. fredwilson

      Its hard to argue with anti incumency right now

      1. Ezra Fischer

        But was this really anti incumbency? You’ve got to look at who was replacing the incumbent. In this case… just another incumbent!

        1. Greg Gentschev

          I agree. Meet the new incumbent, same as the old incumbent. It feels good to get rid of people who are being ineffective, but it seems like a coin toss whether the next one is better. We have to improve the system rather than relying on individual politicians’ personal virtues.

          1. JLM

            In the case of NJ, there is a huge difference between the new and old Governor. The old guy bought his job — political capitalism — promising to reduce taxes. He did not.The new guy has put a bunch of crooked politicians in jail and he has promised to clean up Trenton — the new guy has already demonstrated his expertise in his promised action.I am quite optimistic as it relates to Christie. I will get a bit worried only if he loses a bunch of weight and starts wearing designer suits!NJ is owned by the Democratic machine. Owned lock, stock, barrel and ballot box. This was a huge event in the history of the Garden State.

          2. Greg Gentschev

            Yeah, you make good points with regards to New Jersey. I’m not familiar with the situation there and don’t really have an opinion.I was more trying to make the point that anti-incumbency in general doesn’t change much in the long run. Better to change the system. How about this for a change – what if neither party could gerrymander districts? That would force more of a level playing field between incumbents and challengers in general. I don’t necessarily expect the challenger to be better than the incumbent on a personal level, but more competition tends to keep everyone on good behavior. Just like markets! Unfortunately, I think ideas like that probably have a snowball’s chance.

          3. JLM

            I am an eternal optimist and take the long view. In my lifetime, Ronald Reagan has gone from a “dunce” to a “god” — the only change was a developing taste for his governance reinforced by the incompetence that followed his Presidency.Why not both?Better people, better policies, Pappa Johns!

      2. JLM

        I thnk that “anti-incumbency” is just another way of saying — today — sheer incompetence. Politicians who just don’t get anything done.

  14. Dan Lewis

    I think you’re reading too much into this. Corzine was a primadonna governor and not very well liked for many reasons. Christie was a weak challenger to a strong candidate but Corzine’s decision to attack his weight made it easy to humanize Christie while reflecting poorly on Corzine.On the other hand, Bloomberg won easily — he was running against apathy, not Bill Thompson. His reelection was a fait accompli and probably greatly depressed pro-Bloomberg turnout. When the Brooklyn, Manhattan, and Queens boro presidents each run virtually unopposed yet score more votes, cumulatively, than their party’s candidate for Mayor, that’s not a good reflection on said candidate (Thompson), but a good one sign for Mayor Bloomberg.

    1. hallson

      I completely agree with Dan Lewis on this. I don’t think the Bloomberg’s close reelection is part of the bigger trend you highlight (and which I agree with). Almost everyone I spoke to didn’t vote, period, because they felt it was a fate accompli that he would get reelected. Why bother going to the polls. Thompson may be a good guy but a lot of people didn’t even know who he was or that he was running.

      1. Lisa Mogull

        I agree too. I think the results across the country show that the real problem is low turnout. When people are convinced that every vote in every election is important then the results will reflect the real will of the People. I live on the UWS in one of the most heavily Democratic districts. My neighbors are furious at Bloomberg for being a bully on term limits. But, I went to vote at 6pm and was the only voter there. They are convinced that their vote doesn’t make a difference but in fact it is their lack of a vote that is making a bigger difference.According to notable was the very sharp drop-off in voting by young adults: Voters under age 30 accounted for just 9 percent of voters in New Jersey (compared with 17 percent in 2008) and 10 percent in Virginia (down from 21 percent a year ago). Young voters were Obama’s biggest supporters last year, but their uncertain turnout makes them a less reliable base.

    2. kidmercury

      lol, he attacked his weight?!?!?! amateur move, no wonder he lost.

      1. Dan Lewis

        Not explicitly, but not-so-subtly either.It certainly didn’t help, as Christie rebuffed it in a tactful way.

  15. Tom Labus

    This economics pure and simple. NJ is the last state that you would want to start a business in most surveys. How that gets corrected, at this stage, is beyond me.

    1. Dave Pinsen

      It starts with taking on the public sector unions. We can’t afford to give such lavish pensions and benefits to public employees. Control that spending and you can start paying down the state’s debt, and eventually lower taxes on businesses to make the state more attractive to them.

  16. Wille

    Hear, hear! I like that fact that you’ve woken up to the fact that this isn’t a partisan issue – it’s an issue of corrupt politicians serving special interests rather than the people, protecting the status quo where it should be broken, giving special favours where none should be given.These bums dominate all parties.

  17. Mo Koyfman

    amen. welcome back avc politics. you should rename the blog ‘the straight talk express’ 😉

    1. fredwilson

      that’s been used by a crook in the pocket of the telcos and is tainted

      1. Mo Koyfman

        humor in the blog comments is always tough 🙂

        1. fredwilson

          i got it. it just wanted to vent about mr telco

          1. Mo Koyfman

            we should throw his ass out too…

          2. Elie Seidman

            mandatory retirement for these folks as a safety net to get them out? How does a guy who does not really know what the internet is get involved in telecom policy?But the major problem is not who the governors are – it’s that government is just inherently very inefficient. Big companies have lots of big company problems because they are big and extraordinarily hard to manage. Government is a big company minus ambition, hard work, and ethics.

          3. Mo Koyfman

            i couldn’t agree more, although obama is moving us in a very differentdirection where you have to believe in the desire of governors to work hardand do good. will be interesting to see how it all plays out…

          4. Elie Seidman

            unfortunately, it won’t work. Even with the best of intentions, it’s not manageable. Too many layers, too slow moving, and the special interests are too entrenched and too wealthy. In the real world, someone who knows nothing a subject won’t have much influence on it. But then you’ve got straight talk who knows nearly nothing about telecom creating telecom legislation. Oh my. Like Fred/Churchill said above, Democracy is the worst kind of government except for all the others. I’m an optimist by nature but on this one, I’m not optimistic.

          5. Mo Koyfman

            unfortunately, i agree. waiting to see the rest of the optimistic gangcatch on…

  18. StephenPickering

    Couldn’t agree more. But the two party, or any party system doesn’t work for the people. It only works for the interests of the parties and the establishments in them. To make them rich and powerful at the expense of the people. The problem has been that the party system is sort of like book publishers and record deals. The artist is beholden to them, but needs them for legitimacy, to get “elected”The financial and health care crisis are simply results of an unfree market not a lack of regulation. Look at the banks. They’re getting all this free money and what are they doing with it? Buying Treasuries to make money on the spread! Wonder whose pocket the money for the spread comes out of? The expense of the people. What value to the economy is being added back from this? None.

  19. andyswan

    Agree. This wasn’t all about Obama (though certainly a shot across the bow), but was about spending, taxes and intrusion. It was about 2000 page bills that aren’t read and add a trillion to the debt. It was backlash against vagueness and celebrity/wealthy politics.It killed the healthcare debacle of ’09 and reminded bluedogs that ’08 was NOT a mandate for government takeover or a “fundamental change” in the US economic system.It was a good day because it put our out of control federal government into gridlock….which is rarely a bad thing.We’ve got to get back to our founding principles of liberty, rugged individualism, personal responsibility, and local control over issues not specifically mandated by the Constitution.p.s. that big “F U” to the GOP establishment in NY-23 was sweet too. When you sacrifice principle for victory, you often end up with neither!

  20. maverickny

    Noticed there were a lot of Dump Corzine stickers in Morristown yesterday and realised that the incumbent wasn’t going to make it. Good riddance too, he failed on so many levels – to show leadership, provide direction or even deliver on some of his promises.It was interesting standing in line to vote last night in Hudson County. Normally few bother for the Gubernatorial elections and apathy reigns. Not this time, folks in line were cheesed off with high taxes, high Turnpike tolls, increased corruption, potholes and lack of change so the polling station was busy all day and there was even a line at 7pm when I went. One blue collar worker turned to me and said, “My family voted for change, we’re not getting it, so maybe some one else will respond to our request.”Personally, I thought all 3 main choices sucked in NJ: none of them offered a compelling mandate for how to get things moving again here. Depressing.

  21. Henry Yates

    Apologies, off topic, but I thought this was quite funny. I read using netvibes – it showed the following ad below this post

    1. kidmercury

      lol, why am i not surprised that sarah palin doesn’t have the sharpest media buying team working for her???? lol

  22. Ben Atlas

    What is there to say in Boston where a mediocre mayor Menino have been just reelected to the 5th term.

  23. Spike Stephenson

    Throwing the bums out is a good first step, unfortunately in my opinion, a very small one. Until the need to raise money is either eliminated or greatly reduced we will continue to wallow in the muck of big money contributors from corporate America’s influence. In the world of startups if a company spent 6 weeks on vacation, 8 weeks working, and 38 raising more money to stay in business, the business would be doomed to failure. Likewise, politicians raising money to stay in office is one reason that our system sucks! I’m a damn proud American and we are the best country in the world, but for some unknown reason “the result of years of dumbing down America” we have option A or B. Without at least one or two more parties that push the others we are left to watch a miserable game of ping-ping looking left, right, and back again.I know that neither of these concepts are original I’m just wondering out loud what will be the catalyst to move us in a better direction.

    1. JLM

      Perhaps the most fundamental question to be asked today is —How much of a man’s labor should be paid to the State?We have to work back from that assumption to be able to get a handle on the magnitude of the required change. It has been proven unequivocally that “millionaire taxes” @ the state level simply drive the millionaires to other states.

      1. Dave Pinsen

        Do you think the ~40% of Americans who pay no net income taxes think that’s a fundamental question?

        1. JLM

          Well played.I suspect that more than a little of the Democratic base in America at the national level is spawned by the fact that the bottom half of wage earners believe that the cost of everything is going to be paid for by the top half of wage earners.It is a hugely clever and cynical construct by the Democrats and it is a huge vulnerability of the Republicans to grasp or concede half of the electorate on these kind of issues.It truly is class warfare.

          1. Dave Pinsen

            In fairness, Bush 43 made the income tax system even more progressive (despite liberal claims to the contrary) and bragged about taking more Americans off the income tax rolls. He played into the Dems’ hands on this.Now, though, the fiscal picture demands a tilt back toward broadening out the tax base again. Some smart liberals (e.g., Matt Yglesias) already get this. Yglesias has noted that Scandinavian countries that liberals admire for their social welfare policies tax their lower earners a lot more than we do.

          2. JLM

            Agree completely with everything you say. The “law of unintended consequences” is always at play when trimming the edge of complex equations.No American is well served having another American pay his way in the world. It is a core belief.

      2. kidmercury

        How much of a man’s labor should be paid to the State?my favorite question. answer: 0. income tax is unconstitutional, the amendment was never fully ratified. only corporations should pay taxes. income tax goes to the central banks who lent our money into existence. reagan campaigned on a lot of these types of issues. until, that he is, appointed bush sr as his VP….then his top members walked off his campaign and the dream of returning to liberty’s ridiculous how much we pay in taxes. income tax, sales tax, state tax, gasoline tax, etc. it is amazing that we are the “land of the free” when the fruits of our labor are reaped by someone else. for old timers like me this is closer to slavery, not the freedom we were supposed to have.

        1. JLM

          I could not possibly AGREE more. The average man has no idea as to the cumulative percentage of income, sales, property, gasoline, payroll, use, excise, etc taxes he pays.It is this ignorance which serves to enslave us.

          1. ShanaC

            As libertarian as you all want to be- even Mills would still bite all of you for having to build roads and raise and army. Even the Millian construct would still not include children and incompetents, however you define that.You need some sort of tax base. A small tax base. You need some roads, you need some sort of small army/police force. You still need judges. And you still need to educate kids in a millian/lockean world.So no tax is never going to happen- it’s how much and how gray of a world can you tolerate. Shades of gray, shades of gray.

          2. COMRADITY

            Two points regarding what we should pay taxes for to follow up on ShanaC’s point about the criteria for a tax base.1) Agree that roads, security, justice, and education are essential to assuring the hope that it is possible for the “pursuit of happiness.” Hope is a good test for assessing new programs. For example, how do kids have hope if they are afraid to attend school? How do small business people have hope when healthcare insurance for the employees increases by over 15% a year? Etc.2) Politicians have been spending our tax dollars on programs they hope will get them re-elected year after year. Isn’t now the time to audit the budget and eliminating line items that don’t meet the most important pillars of “hope”?Would Google’s search technology be able to cross check federal, state, and local budget bills and flag the redundant or counter-productive?Katherine Warman Kern@comradity

          3. kidmercury

            there was no income tax prior to the 16th amendment, which never was fully ratified, hence making the income tax unconstitutional. taxes on corporations can pay for everything government is supposed to provide.

        2. thewalrus

          kid. i agree with so much of what you say but come at it from the totally opposite end of the spectrum. to me there is no difference between libertarianism and anarchy…and to me thats not progress, thats regressing back to cavemen. Call me a red, but i’m all for paying taxes that support key public goods as i believe we all benefit from equal access to services such as schools, hospitals, roads, drinking water, etc. If the next generation isn’t afforded an equal starting point, what will the future hold? I want change, but I don’t want pure darwinistic individualism.i think the biggest problem is apathy at an individual level. people seem to think, i can’t improve things so i’ll just take what i can get while i can get it…..the justification for actions becomes a negative reinforcing loop. Unfortunately, I find it hard to believe that many (not all) people who call out crooks on wall street or in gov’t would be doing the exact same thing if they had the opportunity. This is the fundamental reason why there is no real change… isn’t being lived and breathed on an individual (micro) level… short, we need to drop the victim, and screw your neighbor, mentality. Note: not pointing this at you at all. I also see you as an extreme optimist and not a doomsdayer…I’m just generalizing about what I observe more widely.democracy arose over monarchy because decentralized systems always win over more centralized systems. i strongly believe if the web remains a truly ‘open’ platform it will be the catayst that leads to to more efficient, transparent and decentralized methods of people-driven government. from representative democracy to a more direct democracy. I think this will incoporate many of the libertarian goals, but I would like to see these combined with very strong communal/public/social elements as well (ex. I would rather pay taxes to accountable institutions for a hospital than dress up in tuxedo, drink champagne and write a cheque at a fundraiser….but thats just me). And like you say….take things back to the original spirit and principles of the constitution.I wrote this quickly so I know you can shoot holes all over this but my main point is that individualism can’t be the end-goal, and that forms of collective government can (read: must be) improved upon. Word.And big kudos to fred for having the courage to post this….really not afraid to open the kimono 🙂

          1. kidmercury

            hey marko,i hear what you are saying in many regards. in fact, what i am hoping and working towards, is a world where blog stars are all using their own currency, and thus are competing amongst each other to get users locked into using their currency. right now, you are pretty much locked into your currency; as much as i hate being trapped into using the US dollar, that is my only recourse really, as i cannot just leave and go to another country, too unfeasible. but if i can simply switch to another blog network, that’s a lot easier. these currencies will affect offline transactions too, as they can be put on debit cards and such. there are already ATMs in europe where you can withdraw virtual the virtual economies will have to compete for users, and will offer them more and more perks (i.e. “all parents who pay their rent in virtual currency get to send their kids to school for free at the free school run by the virtual bank”). in this way the virtual economies/governments disrupt the “real world” economies/governments. this also creates a world where we have big and honest government — big because they are run like businesses and will often have expansionist ambitions, honest because the free market keeps them that least that is the world i want, which i think would be the blissful union of big government perks and small government liberty that you’re talking about.but until we have the ability to easily switch currencies — meaning until the central bankers have to start competing for me — i favor limited government. when you’re locked into a political economy, big government has proven itself time and time again to be dangerous, perhaps the most dangerous of least that is my two cents. i am glad we are having these types of conversations, that is in my opinion the first and most crucial step for getting real change for all of us.

  24. Evan Rudowski

    The same thing is due to happen here soon in the UK, after 12 years of Labour Party governance.In a way it’s too bad as we have a Prime Minister who is intellectually very capable but is not in control of his own troops or the media. Power corrupted Labour and they became obsessed more with spin and image than with governing effectively. Their majority in Parliament should have enabled them to achieve much more than they ultimately did. And ironically their obsession with spin and control probably damaged their image more than anything.Unlike the Democrats in the US (where I’m also a voter), Labour at least had a long opportunity to govern. I don’t think the Democrats have had that chance yet. However, they also failed in their obligation to provide a substantial opposition voice at the peak of the Bush administration’s adventurism.As others have pointed out, however, the challengers are not necessarily better suited to govern than the incumbents. Here in the UK, the jury is still out on David Cameron and the Conservatives. He’s certainly more telegenic than Brown, but he’s made some big missteps — such as trying to intervene recently with the Czechs to stall the European constitution, and leaving the centre-right European coalition to align instead with far-right Eastern European parties with questionable histories of racial and ethnic views.It will be interesting to see what develops as the tide of “throw the bums out” crosses the ocean.Kind regards,Evan

  25. LissIsMore

    Throw the bums out! Amen, Brother!One thing that concerns me in trying to chart a new course for our governmental bodies is how the choices that are served up to the electorate are controlled by the two political parties. The two parties are really two sides of the same coin. It is hard to see how real change happens with the stranglehold the two major parties have on the debate.And here is a question: I am astounded at the report that Bloomberg spent $100m of his own money to get elected Mayor (and $250m across 3 elections). What could possibly motivate someone to spend that kind of personal money for an elected office? I know that Bloomberg is a wealthy man, but I am suspicious of this action. What is the ROI in his calculation?

    1. JLM

      He is being paid and he is calculating his ROI in another currency — vanity, power, self adulation, ego.How much good could have been done w/ that investment?

      1. kidmercury

        yes. power is the big one.

        1. ShanaC

          No one ever tells anyone this- power is the ultimate symbol of pretty much anything. Sex, love, power, money makes the world go ’round.In a wierd sort of way.

          1. JLM

            Real power, REAL POWER is unseen, unheard and has attained its objective before anybody else has even framed the question. It is not symbolic, it is real. It is totally lacking in “ruth”.If you have to even expose your power to the light of day, you have compromised your power.This is why all this dithering in Afghanistan is so unseemly, it betrays the notion that we do not possess unlimited power. That there is some limit to our power.Whereas if we simply acted and made a pyramid of our enemies skulls therafter, well then folks would recognize their own vision of the reality of that power without being able to find its edges or limitations. The resulting legend would scare our enemies into submission.The world is afraid of the dark while the powerful know that night is neutral.

          2. ShanaC

            Parts of the night are neutral. THis is from someone who likes walking in the night.And maybe power is not unlimited. Woody, we were both brought in religious schooling enviroments. “God is king of kings”We are dithering in Afiganistan. IS our power as a nation basically a pyramidal one of human power? Or is it something more. I wonder so much about this. How do you go about and build an institution. I’ve bowed before the Western Wall in Jerusalem- does this make me part of an institution that has really lasted, or has it radicaly changed since it’s first inceptions as I’m aware of it. How does it related to company building? The Built to Last concept. I mean, there are companies out there, I think, that are over 100, 200 years old. Can we get to 1000? Is that even possible? For me that’s a sign of real power.It isn’t even about Dark or Light, or objective. It’s about lasting impact on human life. Tim Burner-Lee will be forgotten to the sands of time. So will I. The Internet, hopefully, will not. That’s power.

      2. LissIsMore

        I hope his currency is only vanity, power and ego.I also think about what else he could have done with that $250m as a direct contribution to some worthy cause. How many people could he have fed? How many people could he have sheltered? In the end the only thing he fed was his vanity.


      By the way the notion of political parties was not contemplated by the Constitution. So the idea of getting back to the original operating principles of the Constitution would raise questions about what political parties do screw up the balance of powers.

      1. LissIsMore

        Political parties, especially at the Federal level, operate for their own advancement. “Doing the peoples business” has morphed into pandering and positioning for the next election.One of the most alarming things about the 2008 presidential election was how Ron Paul was shunted aside just when he was gaining momentum. Not that he would have won, but he was excluded from the “debates” and thus deprived the voters of the opportunity from hearing alternative choices. I was shocked when that happened and by how little uproar there was. This control of the conversation by the big powers – big media and the political parties – was done in broad daylight.

  26. ErikSchwartz

    The reason we don’t throw the bums out is because it’s only the other district’s (state’s) politicians who are bums. My politician brings jobs and federal money to my district. Kid Mercury is right, the problem isn’t the pols, it’s the narcissistic population who are more interested in grabbing as much as they can for themselves rather than fixing the problem. The real estate crash is another symptom of the same problem, people want more than they can afford. Just wait until the credit card crash comes.The only bums you can throw out are your own bums. FWIW, the only election I paid attention to this time around was Q1 up here in Maine, (which passed). I am very disappointed in my fellow (bigoted) Mainers. Frankly the irony of the Catholic church running “protect your kids from the gays” ads given their recent criminal complicity in pedophilia is laughable. (sorry OY, I know but smoke is coming out of my ears right now).

    1. JLM

      One of the problems in any political debate is the sense that the outcomes must be binary. That opposing views must be demonized. I say a pox on everybody’s house who violates norms of decency. I applaud rigorous debate even when it fails to close the gap between opposing views.I was educated by Irish priests, Sisters of Charity and Christian Brothers. I never had an untoward hand laid on me. I was served mightily by those saintly persons. I love them all dearly. I am eternally grateful to them. The transgressors amongst them deserve to be punished but the entire order does not.Because Maine does not agree with YOU, does not make Maine bigoted.

  27. Mark Essel

    Haha, never realized you were so rebellious Fred. It fits though with your surfing of disruption lifestyle. Open government next to be disrupted by the democracy of the net?

  28. Druce

    I guess the question is what the replacements should look like and where you find them?Worth pointing out that Bloomberg is a competent technocrat, registered independent, not sold out to lobbyists. Personally, I wish he had groomed a successor and run for governor with a slate of state legislators and tried to jumpstart the negligible non-nutjob wing of the GOP. Those train wrecks really need to be swept clean, and the state is where the power resides, note fiascos like congestion pricing, midtown west redevelopment.Overturning term limits? Somewhere (Yankee Stadium, probably) Rudy is saying, hey, you can do that?I’m a little cynical and don’t see a lot of really smart service-minded competent people waiting in the wings (mostly just wingnuts actually), and suspect when these oligarchs get thrown out things will change for MUCH worse before they get better.Be careful what you wish for LOL.


    “I’m not sure we’re fully noticing it. Americans are starting to think the problems we are facing cannot be solved.” @PeggyNoonanNYC is on to something here comments are disturbing . . . evidencing why she’s “not sure we’re fully noticing it.” Most of the comments are so “me” oriented they miss the point about “loss of hope” entirely.Katherine Warman Kern

  30. Louis Marascio

    Completely agree. We may as well start now: Fred Wilson in 2010? Sounds good to me :).

  31. Steven Kane

    welcome back to the far ccenter, fred, you’re always welcomei hope this means you are supporter of term limits? works for president, why not everyone else?also, lets once and for all wring the big money out of politics. soooo glad corzine’s billions couldnt automatically buy him a governorship. disappointed bloomberg’s billions could buy him NYC. and shame, shame on obama and his team for abandoning commitment to public financing of elections. one of the issues i liked about democratic party, now a joke. but essential!

  32. Rob

    I don’t know how there can be this many comments about throwing the bums out without one mention of the only thing that will prevent new bums from getting in: campaign finance reform.

    1. ShanaC

      Old media is expesnive. Massively truning out new media can also be expensive- if you think of the amount of time labor it costs. That all costs $$$$ Got to come from somewhere….

  33. kirklove

    Where?I mean honestly where do you see this new breed coming from? I’d love to know, but I don’t see smart, talented, and ethical people getting into politics. What’s their incentive? Just ask Obama how it feels to be so ambitious (and I truly believe he wants to change things) and not be able to get a single thing done. He’s virtually powerless. And he’s the Goddamn President. The whole thing makes me sick. Sure, we can say dump so and so all we want, but things will never change until we get lobbyists, special interests, big money, and Goldman Sachs alumni controlling the economy out of politics. That’s who needs to be dumped.

    1. kidmercury

      you know who else needs to be dumped. the yankees! man we got a big game tonight. if we win tonight i think we will have the momentum going into game 7. YES WE CAN!and this sunday we got the cowboys in a battle for first place. andy reid is still on my least favorite people list but the birds did look sharp this past week when they pounced on the giants. hope those are the same eagles that will show up this yes, let’s take out all the trash at the same time: yankees, cowboys, goldman.

  34. ShanaC

    npr herr is discussing the dying off of Alted(?) Gardens. $20 fee to play basketball and no tolerance. And that the gardens is no tolerance. This Barak obama one year later. (The community he organized one year later apparenty is half empty and is being “renovated”)

    1. Dave Pinsen

      No tolerance for what? By whom?

      1. ShanaC

        Police. Apparently it costs $20 to rent a basketball. Very No Loitering, lockdown enviroment.…It’s the projects. It’s 75 blocks south of where I am, I don’t know if it further west. Obama also organized in this area too (Hyde park-Kenwood) (North kenwood is North Kenwood, most people don’t know that the Blackstone Rangers origniated in the same area as the University of Chicago.…Yup.My immediate area is lovely…Beautiful…But yup…Atlgeld Gardens people wanrted better healthcare and more worrthwhile jobs so they can get out of the projects. Dude, that says something. Even they are a tad upset. People are a little grumbly here, and I live within walking distance to his house….

        1. Dave Pinsen

          How much does it cost to buy a basketball? Why rent when you can own?

          1. ShanaC

            I’ve taught in school. 3rd graders would flash five dollar bills at me and tell me I’m poor.Hyde park was briefly a food ghetto for about 6-7 months when the grocery store closed. You would have to go over 50, 60 blocks to the next nearest grocery store.There are a lot of things that go into owning stuff, apparently. Some kids definitely don’t have the money to own and maintain. Or the space. Or can secure the basketball. If I remember correctly-U of C’s Charter School’s board memeber spoking at Hacking Education about the fact that laptops would get stolen from the children when they would walk home. Those charter schools are in a neighborhood not far from here, I think one of them is in the area. And I am being recruited for UTEP, which feeds teachers into those Charter Schools. So that idea got abandoned. Same deal.

          2. Dave Pinsen

            Wha? The kids have laptops? I’m missing something here, Shana. I don’t get why the kids can’t afford basketballs if they have laptops, and, presumably, wear sneakers that are more expensive than basketballs.

          3. ShanaC

            See the transcripts from the Hacking Education Post. It’s a similar neighborhood. A charter school run by the University of Chicago would give kids laptops. They would get stolen in the projects. So they stopped.It would be a similar problem with basketballs, so they rent them.

  35. Rob K

    As a fiscally conservative, socially libertarian moderate, I can find very few politicians for whom I want to vote. The 2 party system, and the rise of huge dollar requirements for election, coupled with a primary system, means that the extremes of both parties usually get elected in the primary because they can raise the money.I think we absolutely need term limits to attempt to promote government “of the people”. “By the people” and “For the People” are a bit more challenging to address.

  36. Mike McGrath

    I’m surprised by this post for its lack of nuanced thinking in favor of a “magic bullet.” Juxtaposed to your keen, multidimensional VC eye it seems a bit simplistic to just get rid of incumbents. I’ve heard a lot of rants this year on all fronts that the solution is “free trade” or “honest government” or “the founders intent” etc – this is way too narrow for such a macro problem. The problem I see with these tough individualist/libertarian rants is that they reinforce a hypothesis so much everyone believes it has been tested and is true. We have been doing bailouts since 1790, very few of us have had to tough it out in the macho sense, we never had “free” trade, and Constitutional interpretation has been split since day one. The primary focus on the blog is for early stage, cutting edge web services that can change and be flexible to singular demands very quickly. I think this mindset makes one suffer from a groupthink that all organizations can maneuver this quickly regardless of size. Complex problems cannot be solved with broad strokes.

    1. kidmercury

      as a libertarian ranter, i wanted to note much of our rationale, which is that all problems stem from monetary policy. the constitution was set with sound money principles and financiers have been looking to change this since day one. their biggest victory was the federal reserve act of 1913. since then we’ve had two world wars (both financed by loose money), the roaring 20s, great depression, vietnam war, stagflation of the 70s, exploding deficits of the 80s, rise of the two worker family as economic necessity, dot com bubble (and ensuing collapse), housing bubble (and ensuing collapse).fix monetary policy and the problems go away. faster than they came too.

      1. Dave Pinsen

        Kid,We had depressions during the 19th century too — and we also had our bloodiest war then.

        1. kidmercury

          right, and those wars came when the financiers made previous attempts at creating central banks, with limited success. thankfully we had andrew jackson who knew what the score was and gave his life towards fighting the international banking cartel that has been trying to destroy this country since its inception. humorously we’ve decided to “honor” andrew jackson by putting his face on the fiat money he risked his life to protect us from. lol, the central bankers are a funny bunch, if one is willing to overlook their immorality. war is almost always financed by inflation of the money supply. civil war (lincoln went off gold standard to finance it), WWI, vietnam, current “war on terror” (aka war on peace). fix monetary policy by restricting how money supply can be expanded, and you remove the ability to finance wars, thus ending the military industrial complex, thus solving lots of other problems along the way.

        2. kidmercury

          completely off topic, dave, but if you can be persuaded to upload an avatar, that would be great. all the cool kids do it, you don’t want to be left out, do you????if you need me to design a 9/11 truth avatar for you, just holla.

      2. Mike McGrath

        The Constitution has no overt or covert monetary principles that I can see. I would be swayed by these arguments if you had one precedent to show me that deregulation of money policy could, or has ever, worked. I think a big fault of generals is fighting the last war, but a greater error is making sweeping generalizations without some data other than your gut feeling to prove the hypothesis. The problem with these Me v. Libertarian arguments I get myself into is that they confuse me not being able to prove their vision wrong with them being right. Big difference there.

        1. kidmercury

          article I, section X of the constitution states gold and silver are to be used as legal tender. article I, section VIII explicitly grants congress the right regulate money supply. congress gave this right to the privately owned banking cartel known as the federal reserve via the federal reserve act of 1913, but this is unconstitutional; to alter something explicitly in the constitution, we need to go through the amendment process, which the federal reserve act never went through. the federal reserve continues to grant itself more and more power, which of course is also unconstitutional, as all powers not explicitly stated in the constitution rest with the people (not the private bankers).it is not de-regulation of money supply, but rather proper regulation of money supply, that is supply was the entire reason the US revolution was launched, because the colonies were being forced to use the poorly managed currency issued by king george of the british empire. ironically king george of the american empire has also given us a poorly managed currency, for which the proper response is the same as that given by the founding fathers.the damage of the monetary policy under the federal reserve is undeniable. when we were on the gold standard an ounce of gold was worth $20. $20 could also buy you a nice men’s suit. now, an ounce of gold costs a lot more than $20, and you sure ain’t gettin’ much of a men’s suit for $20 (but you will with an ounce of gold). in real capitalism, prices perpetually fall due to innovation, but when monetary policy interferes, we get the messed up situation we currently have.

          1. Mike McGrath

            read McCulloch v. Maryland, the Legal Tender Cases, and Milam v. US. The right of the Fed to make a central bank and negating paper money backed with precious metals is well-heeled in case law precedent prior to 1913 and after. Regardless of the makeup of the Supreme Court, this is law.

          2. kidmercury

            “The right of the Fed to make a central bank and negating paper money backed with precious metals is well-heeled in case law precedent prior to 1913 and after.”impossible, as the fed did not exist prior to 1913.there are also court decisions that have pointed out the federal reserve is unconstitutional and privately owned. credit river decision is one example. link: http://www.constitutionalco…more importantly, though, to override something explicitly in the constitution requires the amendment process, not simply a power hungry court or executive. accordingly, failure to go through the constitutional process makes the federal reserve act of 1913 unconstitutional.

          3. Mike McGrath

            we didn’t have the Fed, but we have had other central banks. The final word on the Constitution is the US Supreme Court – not a Minnesota trial court.

          4. kidmercury

            there have been lots of court rulings, not just the MN case referenced. but the final authority on the constitution is the constitution itself, for which the supreme court is supposed to interpret. not sure how they interpreted “you can only use gold and silver as legal tender” as “you can use whatever you want as legal tender.” also there is the issue that the fed has given itself more and more power since its inception in 1913. i would argue this is unconstitutional as well.more importantly, though, legality and correctness are two different things. let’s assume that it’s constitutional and everyone in government is honestly uninformed enough to think it is a good idea to have a privately owned bank lend a nation’s money supply into existence, and that this is what the architects of the constitution wanted, in spite of their explicit statements to the contrary. the results clearly show this type of monetary policy leads to an economy prone to credit-induced bubbles and default-induced collapses, greater wealth concentration, and a currency that is perpetually losing value, thus making savings, the foundation of any real economy, quite difficult. unsurprisingly we have a US economy with too much debt, a dangerously weak currency, increasing wealth concentration and disappearance of the middle class, and a population with a negative savings rate.

          5. Mike McGrath

            my previous comments foreshadowed this response.

      3. LissIsMore

        Totally agree, Kid. Take away the money pump and the house of cards falls.

    2. JLM

      “Complex problems cannot be solved with broad strokes.”Agree completely. But every complex problem requires a FIRST stroke. Ridding America of excessive incumbent influence is a good first stroke.Here’s to more strokes.

  37. Dave Pinsen

    Both of these men are wealthy. Both of these men grew up on wall street in the 1970s. Both of these men moved from wall street to public service about a decade ago.Fred,The Atlantic’s Marc Ambinder made a similar point yesterday, as I noted in my blog post on this last night.I suspect the biggest explanatory factor was that a weak economy reflects poorly on incumbent party. That helped Obama last year, and it hurt Dem candidates this year. Another lesson from yesterday is that President Obama’s popularity is either lower now or is not very transferable to boring old white guys such as Governor Corzine. When you drove through NJ yesterday, you probably noticed that all the pro-Corzine billboards featured President Obama prominently.A couple of other thoughts on this: Corzine’s background as a former Goldman Sachs chief was probably a bigger liability for him than Bloomberg’s Wall Street background, given the ubiquity of Goldman alumni in government and the completely unrelated coincidence that the government provided providential aid to Goldman last year while letting a couple of its competitors go down in flames. Also, it’s worth remembering that the GOP would already have had the NJ governorship if the previous governor had resigned promptly after news broke that he tried to give his Israeli boyfriend a homeland security job as a sinecure.

  38. Mike

    Fred, I’m not sure I follow you today. Are you arguing in favor of change, for change’s sake? Politicians have been corrupt and inept as long as they have existed, so how are we to know that the bums we’re voting in will be any better than the bums we’re voting out? Wouldn’t this column have been better spent sticking your neck out on the specific issues that concern you? If you just want change, why not argue in favor of term limits?

  39. jeremyhanks

    Totally agree. Also think though that some of the structural frameworks our government is based on (two-party system, no term limits in many cases, etc.) create an environment were we’ll enter a perpetual cycle of unhappy voters wanting change throwing the bums out to be replaced by new bums as we have a system that supports bums. It’s like changing the mgt team at a company looking for improvement when you should have just let it die since some fundamental foundation at the company was the flaw.

  40. Andre D


  41. Nick Giglia

    Same thing happened out on Long Island, specifically in Nassau County. Tom Suozzi, our incumbent County Executive, was re-elected with 70% of the vote 4 years ago. This year, he barely campaigned against his virtually-unknown opponent, instead treating it as a coronation. He’s currently up 250 votes but all signs point to a loss when all is said and done. By the time he and his party saw the tidal wave, it was too late.However, the kid is also right: voter apathy may be the big issue here. Turnout was about 22%, and a popular incumbent was toppled even though Democrats have an overwhelming registration advantage and the Republicans had no new ideas.I think an anti-incumbent mood is good every now and then, but I also think that voters who don’t participate in the process make it too easy for a motivated fringe group to dictate terms.

    1. Nick Giglia

      Also, I don’t consider New Jersey or Virginia a referendum on Obama. Corzine had his own problems, and the state was a mess. Deeds in Virginia wasn’t a good candidate. Sometimes candidates lose because of themselves.

      1. JLM

        McCain was a lousy candidate and it was unfortunate that the then current occupant of the WH was woefully unpopular. Tough luck!Obama was a magic candidate, the most photogenic and well spoken, articulate candidate in half century. Good luck!Both candidates — Corzine & Deeds — were the hand picked candidates of their parties and the best they had to offer under the situation. They were both winners of their primary races. So what?You have to deal with life and politics as it really is and not how one would like it to be.Obama lent the entire force of his organization, persona and presence and his boy came in second. This is reality.Of course, President Obama wasn’t really interested in the election because he wasn’t even watching the returns and the women folk had gone to see Mylie Cyrus. Right! LOL

    2. ShanaC

      Wow, I’m from Nassau. Suozzi won against a Machine. He won the year my Ap PoliSci textbook named Nassau county the oldest running Political Machine in the Country. wow.


      Low turnout is indeed a disturbing trend suggesting people don’t think it matters if they vote – read: no hope they can change anything.Obama won because he inspired hope. Congress appears to be ignoring this mandate and continuing politics as usual – motivated by getting “me” re-elected instead of solving “our” problems.Sends the message that they have no hope things can be different. So why vote?

  42. ceonyc

    The fact that Thompson got as many votes as he did was utterly ridiculous–because he has a record of near zero positive accomplishment. If he did accomplish anything positive, or have a plan for the future of NYC, besides “taking it back”, I would have liked to hear about it during the campaign. I don’t even know what “taking it back” means… from who? To do what with it?There are a lot of people in the city who don’t like Bloomberg because of his wealth–when as comptroller and head of the board of Ed, Thompson probably still makes more yearly than 90% of the city’s residents–but at least it’s not billions. We want our kids to grow up to be wildly successful, but then we knock down the existing wealthy.The fact that city unions endorsed Thompson in droves is reason enough to not support him–as NYCs union labor structure, despite the quality, hard work and dedication of the individuals within them–contributes highly to our financial issues. The people that voted for Thompson are the people that don’t like the idea of the city being run as a business–with accountability, focus on the bottom line, etc.It’s never positive to be an incumbent in a bad economy, despite the fact that the executive branch has little to zero effect on economic conditions.

    1. ShanaC

      Actually- I know people who totally reject your conception of wildly successful and want thier children to grow up in what you think is abject poverty.Also, remember that wildly successful is a function of class and gender. I’ll still never forget a kid telling me that the kind of studying I did in college is for white rich kids. Yup. He didn’t thiunk it was neccessary for him to learn how to seriously learn his three Rs because his life goal was to be a pro wrestler or a garbage truck driver. Smart kid too.Same with some women I know.There are definitely some interesting comparisons to be made between one of my cousin-in-laws and me.Just saying- success is hugely internally defined. And culturally bounded.

  43. Nathan Bashaw

    I live in Michigan and am active with the Rick Snyder for Governor campaign. He’s a VC and former COO and president of Gateway in the 90s – no political experience. The campaign is getting a lot of traction in Michigan because people are sick of career politicians. I think Rick Snyder is at the front end of a big trend in politics, especially for the Republican party. Another example from the 2010 election cycle is of course Meg Whitman in California.

  44. ShanaC

    FYI this thread is why I think business schools should have a liberal arts curriculum…there are a few people I wasn’t forced to read selections of because of the Core classes I took. And I will get to them, over my lifetime. They will make you think. My core has been mentioned here. So has their practical application s to business. Go political philosophy!

  45. still titled

    Does Chris Christie = Christine Todd Whitman…news from the flypaper effect…

  46. Matt Blumberg

    There are a lot of bums out there, but I’m not sure Corzine was one of them. I think the problem is that voters don’t have the stomach for a bunch of the needed, tough decisions.

  47. Guest

    Fred has got it right, I think. Also, the commenters who bash the electorate are a bit harsh, IMO. Of course, the collective wisdom is not always the best, but at the same time you have to marvel at how often the voters get it right, despite the fog of spin, misinformation, posturing and outright lies.There are amazing things happen in the past two elections:1. You can’t buy elections. Rich self-funded douchebags like Romney and Corzine lost to underfunded opponents.2. Substance beats prejudice: a mulato named Barak Hussein Obama is a President3. Crazies make noise but don’t get votes: Beck/Limbaugh supported Hoffman delivers NY-23 to Democrats for the first time since the nineteenth century.These things speak great for the American Voter…

  48. Guest

    Well said!

  49. Robert Moss

    Like your blog. Especially politics, and socio-economic issues.Follow me @themrrobert – I’d love to be a part of your community!My blog isn’t as complete as yours yet, but it’s where I’m trying to go.

  50. WA

    Seems it was not good to be part of the incumbent majority in the last election either. It is no longer a question of party politics, is it? An elected official is only as good as the times perhaps?

  51. derrinyet

    The Pew Research Center has just released some stats on this anti-incumbent sentiment:

  52. Charlie F

    I am so very tired of politicians wasting MY hard earned money. I think that the time is right for an American Style Revolution. When elected Officials come up for reelection they should be shown the DOOR. I do not care if they are of any particular Political party. They need to learn that they work for US the People who pay in the millions and millions of tax dollars every year. They are there as Public servents, Not to serve their own personal interests. I have One thing to say to all who read this. When election time comes around in 2010 vote for any candidate who is not an incumbent. Yes, I know that it will take 6 long years to clean out the Senate. I think those who come up for election in 2012 will take note if the entire House is Booted out the door.

  53. Allan

    I know many people dissatisfied with our “representatives”. With the large majority of them being lawyers (I think), what’s surprising that they’ve muddied-up the waters with legalese in every thousand-page bill to benefit themselves and their FINANCIAL supporters (aka big business/etc.).Many constituents are unhappy with who’s in Congress. But we have, long-ago, lost our will to stand up to these jerks. For just a few instances: (1) They have fully-paid health care & they can’t (won’t?) find their way to make things better for those they represent. (2) I’d like to have a job where I can give myself pay raises (while millions of their constituents are unemployed! (3) WHEN did “they” change the reporting of the “Unemployment Figures” to only include those unemployed who are receiving Unemployment Benefits – and not everyone who’s exhausted those benefits & ARE “unemployed”? (4) How can anyone defend our limited 2-party system when “the richest country in the world” has lost it’s way – including things like cutting programs which used to support things for the good of the people and country? (5) They continue to build bridges to nowhere & fund other projects simply to divert money into their own areas to “prove” they are doing something good for their constituents. While Interstate bridges (aka federal routes) cave in & kill people. (6) How can they face anyone (except themselves, their bloated staff & co-cronies)???