We are a commune of inquiring, skeptical, politically centrist, capitalist, anglophile, traditionalist New England Yankee humans, humanoids, and animals with many interests beyond and above politics. Each of us has had a high-school education (or GED), but all had ADD so didn't pay attention very well, especially the dogs. Each one of us does "try my best to be just like I am," and none of us enjoys working for others, including for Maggie, from whom we receive neither a nickel nor a dime. Freedom from nags, cranks, government, do-gooders, control-freaks and idiots is all that we ask for.
You know what is ironic about the Bogle piece? It's that I spend all day every day working for the public sector coming up with really smart ideas to save states and local governments money to lower tax rates, fix their deficits, find ways that they can actually afford their capital plans and if they can't - we tell them that. We don't convince them to do fancy structures they don't understand (although they don't understand much) and we don't wait until we are paid to offer advice or analysis either. Half my time is spent working on unsolicited stuff. You know what usually happens? They pick a worse firm and a not as good a proposal because of probably some political or golf relationship or pay-to-play scheme, and they end up wasting taxpayer money. Some smart govt people get it and do the right thing, but not many. One thing I have learned over my years in fixed income is that 99% of the people in government are idiots.
Just taking the side of the government employees for a moment . . . this sounds like sour grapes to me. You didn't get the job and "they just picked the worse firm probably because of some political stuff, etc." Could it be the other firm had a better idea? Offered better advice at a lower price?
Naww, it had to be something other than that. Right.
Maybe, must maybe, you guys aren't as smart as you think.
Could be, TRO. Good point. But in my experience after 12 years... not a valid one. I couldn't take working with the idiocy, so quit, forgoing my nice padded retirement. A man has to have some standards.
You didn't get the job and "they just picked the worse firm probably because of some political stuff, etc." Could it be the other firm had a better idea? Offered better advice at a lower price?
I certainly can happen. Yet I also know of many instances when requests for proposals are so poorly written, so contradictory, and so unclear as to what the government client wishes to have done that a cogent response by any consultant is impossible.
Almost every time I've been involved in a piece of complicated litigation in which one of the parties was the government, I have been astounded at the positions it took. When businessmen quarrel, although sometimes ego and rancor make the fight more bitter and mutually destructive than necessary, they usually can find some resolution that maximizes advantage to both sides. When the government gets involved, there's no feedback loop to keep the quarrel within reasonable bounds. A businessman doesn't succeed by committing excessive resources to litigation when a rational settlement would work better. A career bureaucrat often does, if only because there so rarely seems to be anyone in authority over him with both motive and power to rein in the excesses. Also, the bureaucrat rarely seems to have any understanding of even the basic business issues at stake, like the concept of a profit or some need for predictability in the commercial process. (I suppose the bureaucrat's perspective would be that the businessmen don't understand the public policy implications.)