A recent front-page political “news” analysis in the New York Times ran under the headline, “A Steady Loss Of Confidence.” Confidence in the expected performance of the units within our national government, that is. The article’s support for this premise was lengthy: the VA failures, the Secret Service failures, the Ebola epidemic control failures, the IRS failures, the Border Patrol failures, the bungled roll-out of the Affordable Care Act.
In the next day’s Times, an article discussed the seemingly flawed and apparently deadly design in the highway guardrails made by the Trinity company. The article noted that the Federal Highway Administration “had defended the product for more than two years, even after it learned that Trinity had changed the design in 2005 without notifying the government, as required.”
In response to this, according to the article, “Brian Farber, a spokesman for the Transportation Department, said in a statement, ‘As we have previously stated, we are going to leave no stone unturned in getting to the bottom of this issue.’” Are those the same stones that it failed to turn over during the nine years since learning of the redesign, and the several years during that time when motorists’ injuries and deaths related to the guardrails were being reported?
We do not think our government people should say stupid stuff, stuff that carries no detectable information or even simple meaning. Mr. Farber should be fired for saying stupid stuff. His section head and his advisors should be fired for approving stupid stuff to say. The head of the entire Transportation Department should be fired for supporting the employment of stupid people or — worse — people co-opted by industry.
No wonder we are all perpetually pissed off. It seems clear by now that our current President’s inexperience in government, despite his other, better qualities, has born fruit. Can we reasonably expect anything different from the next President, or the next Congress? Before you reply, remember: don’t say stupid stuff.