Take a Penny, Don’t Leave a Penny

I ran across this nifty quote in my travels today:

FiveBooks.com: Can you govern as a libertarian in America? You’ve got all these state government programs and you probably can’t get rid of a single one of them – or at least not more than one or two without a battle. Can you be a libertarian governor?

Mitch Daniels: I try to be. I mean, just to be simplistic about it, we believe that leaving the maximum number of dollars in the possession of those who earned them is an exercise in enlarging freedom.

I do this little game sometimes if I’m in a high school classroom. I walk around and ask innocently, ‘Does anyone have a dollar bill?’ – and some kid will produce one and I just stuff it in my pocket and walk on. After the consternation and the giggling stop, I say, ‘What, What?’ Then I go into a little rap and I say, ‘Oh, Jonathan wants his money back – notice that he is a dollar less free than he was a minute ago; if he had that dollar he could decide, he could choose [where and how to spend it]’.

Then I talk about how inevitably we have to coerce money out of people to do necessary and important public business. But if we believe in freedom and liberty than we ought to do that only for necessary purposes.

Then I go on to talk about competence and the fact that it becomes an equally solemn duty to never misspend a dollar. Maybe that’s not the right response but when I’m asked about governing as a libertarian, I would say that’s one way I do it.

Now, I don’t think for a minute Mitch Daniels governs like a true Libertarian, but he’s the best we’ve got. If we had it our way, you probably wouldn’t even recognize America today — particularly in the realm of healthcare, public education and mass transit. You would still have those things, in most cases, but they would be approached from the standpoint of making them affordable for everyone, not just the elite few and not just giving handouts to the poorest few, either.

Lopsided Service

Lots of exciting news coming out of Marion County on the tax-front this morning.

In short, libraries and colleges are spending way too much money on useless administrators, and then they wonder where there money went. Oh, and IndyGo broke an axel wheel. And colleges are full of “mindless cheerleaders”.

In unanimously approving its $37.9 million budget Monday, the Indianapolis-Marion County Public Library board of trustees also put in motion a shortfall appeal that — if approved — will increase some property taxes.

IndyGo, another agency dependent on property taxes, also adopted a 2011 budget Monday, and it, too, will pursue a shortfall appeal as expected.

If approved by the City-County Council, the appeals would bring in $1.8 million for the library and $1.5 million for IndyGo. But for most homeowners, the increase combined would be only a couple of bucks.

I know it’s only a couple of bucks, but these problems aren’t going away and it defeats the purpose of a cap if you can just walk back to the council and say, “More please!”. They’re already talking about doing it again next year, just because they can. I was at the Irvington Library yesterday and it was mostly kids talking in circles and adults looking at Facebook and YouTube. Abdul over at RTV6 noticed the same thing. That can happen at a Starbucks. Libraries need to be rethinking their purpose in the 21st century. And why did they cut hours and services BEFORE looking at the problem they knew they had…

With one in four library employees in management positions, Torres called for eliminating high-paying, duplicate jobs to avoid reducing the library’s customer services.

“There is a need for discussion,” he said. “It’s a mess.”

I see no need for discussion. You’re top-heavy. Cut it out.

And, in further proof why this man is my hero, Gov. Daniels told Indiana’s public universities, namely IU and Purdue, they were acting like “mindless cheerleaders“:

Gov. Mitch Daniels told a large group of college trustees Monday that the days of top-heavy campuses — where administrators get the biggest slice of the budget pie — must come to an end.

“You are not there to be a mindless cheerleader,” the governor said. “Administrative costs are rising rapidly, and that is a lopsided way to deliver resources.”

The study blamed the administrative bloat on subsidies from federal and state governments and suggested that reducing subsidies would force schools to operate more efficiently.

“The role of trustee has never been so critical as it is today,” Daniels said. “But I don’t want to see you at the Statehouse asking for more money.

“Please stay back at the school and find ways to be more efficient with those dollars.”

Again, like most things in life, this is not that hard. Any sane organization or company could fix these problems in an afternoon.

This Week’s Tweets

  • Refresh is next week. I'm looking forward to seeing everyone again. If you're a web or media pro, check us out: http://refreshindy.com #
  • Back from Salem. Everyone will be pleased to know that, like always, nothing about it has changed. Carry on. #
  • Going to Salem today. It would have been mom's 49th birthday. #
  • iTunes to sell your home videos for $1.99 each. http://onion.com/bFby6y #
  • This describes be so well: http://bit.ly/bX3l1N #
  • Comic Sans Man: http://bit.ly/9VJieI (via Tristan Schmid) #
  • For the love of — now an IMPD cop got caught in a tussle with a state trooper. http://bit.ly/bK5NwY #
  • Think "Render Render Render" could ever catch on like "Rollin' Rollin' Rollin'"? #badtweet #killingtimewhilerenderingavideo #
  • .@IndyStar following IPS Kindergarten class for a year. Kids don't know what shelves, crayons or puzzles are. http://bit.ly/9Sw2iV #
  • Fun fact: The new Facebook 'Places' logo has a "4" written in the square map. Get it? 4-Square? #
  • It's morning in America. #
  • ANOTHER drunk IMPD officer in hit-and-run, tries to cover it up. Get it together, guys. http://bit.ly/97f7sw #
  • Evidently, I'm waiting for a client that has no intention of showing up. #
  • If IMPD didn't have a problem before, they do now. Nearly 14k people joining the anti-Bisard Facebook page. http://bit.ly/9Kg3Nb #
  • Philly blogger makes $50 in 3 years. City requiring her to pay $300 for a business license: http://bit.ly/bmEArA #
  • Today's Digg comment of the day: "You people aren't making Christianity better, you're just making rock n' roll worse!" – Hank Hill #
  • One of the dog's handy features: he's really good with scaring off geese, even from a distance. #

Stupid Legal Stuff

Coming from someone who used to work for a Court, I hate legal mumbo jumbo. I don’t ever sit in front of a client and rattle off a bunch of technical jargon, so why should we with the legal stuff?

I’ve simplified my contract for design services. Starting today, all of our new clients will be asked to sign on with our new contract, which is now written in plain English. I originally used a contract template, half of which I’m not sure  I could even understand. Now that I know what needs to be included and what doesn’t based on experience, we’re doing this the easy way.

Here’s a snippet:

As our customer, you have the power and ability to enter into this contract on behalf of yourself, your company or organization. You agree to provide us with everything that we need to complete the project including text, images and other information as and when we need it, and in the format that we ask for. You agree to review our work, provide feedback and sign-off approval in a timely manner too. Deadlines work two ways and you will also be bound by any dates that we set together. You also agree to stick to the payment schedule set out at the end of this contract.

We have the experience and ability to perform the services you need from us and we will carry them out in a professional and timely manner. Along the way we will endeavor to meet all the deadlines set but we can’t be responsible for a missed launch date or a deadline if you have been late in supplying materials or have not approved or signed off our work on-time at any stage. On top of this we will also maintain the confidentiality of any information that you give us.