On the Workings of the System

A sub-debate between Cass and I has to do with how well the system we have still responds to democratic pressures. The Federal system is problematic, to be sure. Obamacare has been underwater forever, and only gets less popular, and yet no repeal is in sight until perhaps 2017 -- depending on what other issues come up between now and then. Democratic pressures have not been successful at reforming the law, and indeed the system is structurally such that even wave elections in 2010 and possibly this year can't produce reform. Meanwhile, the changes to the insurance landscape in America are going to be so sweeping by 2017 that it's not clear if things can still be undone by that time.

On the other hand, at the local level, things still work sometimes. On the very issue we were discussing -- abusive writing of traffic tickets for revenue -- the little town of Waldo, FL, has had a stunning success at stopping the problem through democratic means.
In August, five Waldo officers rebelled against their superiors and made a presentation to the city council about the malpractices.... After State Attorney Bill Cervone advised that he would bring a case before the Alachua Grand Jury that would be “humiliating,” the city council voted to disband the notoriously corrupt police department.
Now, it took good officers stepping forward to report the abuses to force action, as well as the State Attorney's threat. Still, the system worked: a corrupt department was identified and disbanded by the democratically-elected city council. Well done, all around.


Cass said...

I was wondering if you'd see that story :)

I saw it yesterday morning but didn't have time to read the whole thing. Then I just plain got so busy I forgot - didn't even get home from work until almost 8:30 last night.

Now I'll have to read the whole thing!

Eric Blair said...

So, the town no longer has any police? What, the county took over? (such a thing happened in Camden NJ)

Anyway, nothing really is going to get done until Congress realizes that it has a job to do other than just getting reelected.

But, Congress has always been corrupt. It's just that it didn't matter as much in the past, becuase the government didn't intrude so much into people's lives.

Grim said...

Our closest town doesn't have a police department either. In theory the county sheriff's office can be called if you need them, but we really don't most of the time. There's no crime to speak of, although there are some violations of the motor vehicle code. But that's mostly just kids having fun.

Ymar Sakar said...


How dare they rebel.

Ymar Sakar said...



There are alternatives.