Correcting the errors of government

I am generally supportive of a lot of government activity. I’m glad it is involved in education and roads. Privatized versions of these things would lead to the upper class being wildly more educated than others while also having better transportation access than everyone else (though I am open to someone explaining how a poor family would pay for 3 kids to go to a school 20 miles away when there is no road to their rural, commercially useless home). I am glad we have police and fire forces. I think it’s a good thing that libraries have been so common for so long (though we need them less and less today – at least as physical entities). However, with all that said, there are sometimes I just hate the government. Today’s target: The Maine Bureau of Identification.

I work for a company which receives some of its funding through the state. As such, it is necessary for everyone there to cover their asses whenever anything comes up. Case in point, a criminal background check for me comes back with a Michael Hopkins attached to it. This guy, who lives a town or two over and has a similar birthday, was a punk when he was 15. He broke into a few cars and stole a couple of CD’s and a little loose change in his hometown, got caught, and now he has a record. (Why it shows up now and why a minor’s record is not sealed, I do not know.) Despite the different names and birthdays, I have been hounded to prove I am not Michael Hopkins. I mean, it makes sense, right? The onus is always on the person making the negative claim. (Stay tuned for my next post proving the non-existence of unicorns.)

So how does one go about proving he is not someone else? Why, finger prints, of course! Yes, that’s right. The only way the Maine Bureau of Identification (which is a thing I doubt should even exist) will confirm that you are who you say you are is by forcing you to give your finger prints over to them. Oh, and there’s a fee. Sure, it isn’t your fault someone cross-referenced something incorrectly. And sure, the evidence indicating you aren’t who you say you are is as good as the evidence that Jim Carrey and Drew Carey are the same person. And yes, yes, yes, the government has no rights to your finger prints. But come on! Let’s think rationally about this, innocent civilian: Go fuck yourself. Amirite?

7 Responses

  1. Why not use middle names (if you have one)? It would be even more of a coincidence if you both happen to have similar middle names.

  2. I don’t recall if he has the same middle initial or not.

  3. There are plenty of private roads and schools, the reason why there aren’t more I would say is an artifact of what is essentially a government imposed monopoly.

    It’s like saying if there weren’t a post office, than the rich would have wildly better access to letter sending. Nonsense of course, because it ignores supply and demand and just assumes that the government can do everything cheaper and better. Astounding when you consider that when the government does something, no one has any real incentive to make things cost effective, because that would lead to budget cuts, not raises.

    And like I said last night, the problem isn’t your employer or the state, it’s liability lawyers.

    It actually turns out I have been doing Michael Hopkins mother, so it’s and easy mistake to make. Now I’m doing both yours and his.

  4. I’m still waiting for an explanation as to why a company would build a road out to Windsor, Maine.

    There is no national letter carrying system of renown in Haiti. As a consequence, people who wish to communicate with each other are out of luck unless they can find someone with a vehicle and the time to go to a specific location.

    The problem is clearly the state here. They have attached an incorrect name to some punk’s record. Now the onus is on me to prove me innocence through a singular method.

  5. I’m still waiting for an explanation as to why a government would build a road out to Windsor, Maine. I might be wrong, but the city doesn’t maintain and plow your road do they? Why is that?

    Given their government corruption and the difficulty of starting a legitimate business or purchasing land, I can’t say I’m surprised. Are you?

    The onus is on you not to prove your innocence, but your identity. A different thing altogether.

    I’m not saying it’s right, or that the government isn’t full of shit, my feelings are well known, but if the cashier at shop n’ save doesn’t take your ID because you shaved your beard off, and thinks that it may not really be you, they are not likely to just say “yeah sure, you look like a good guy” and accept the liability for selling you whisky.

  6. My road is about half a mile long and made of dirt. It is populated by people who are able to afford relatively expensive homes with fairly high taxes. But even then, they don’t do everything. The city plows and the homeowners pay fees every year for regrading and the like. See if you can find the funding for maintaining a paved highway like, say, Rt. 26 solely from the residents who live on it.

    There is a lot of corruption, but that is neither here nor there. There is no way for the poor to easily communicate, so the wealthy are significantly better off.

    The onus is on me to prove the government made an error.

  7. Your missing my point with regard to roads, and with regard to communication, but I’ll take them separately.

    First, the only real advantage to having the government build and maintain the roads is that roads usually require the “seizure” of property, which we want a neutral arbiter to be doing when it must be done. The reason I put seizure in quotes is because roads just involve depriving the owner of the use of the land it will be upon, not the actual taking of the land from them, they actually pay taxes on the land the road sits on, though they no longer enjoy the use of it. I am not aware of any research that looks into how property taxes relate to road maintenance, but it’s safe to say that property owners do pay for the maintenance of the road they live on, to what degree is all that is unclear. (more frontage on a road usually means higher taxes)

    The corruption is both here and there, because it severely impairs the governments ability to do whatever it is governments are supposed to do, assuming one of those things is a letter carrying system. I also have to suppose that if there was sufficient demand, some enterprising folks that do own vehicles would engage in the business. As it is even here in the US, the post office does not deliver to places where there is not sufficient demand to pay for it.

    Actually, in many cases that isn’t true, and that is why the post office is ripe to go belly up and start circling the drain. Unfortunately, the law says that you may not hire a person to do what the post office does, even if the post office doesn’t do it, wrap your head around that one. How much demand is there for letter carriers? The answer is not enough, given economic growth there, that would likely change, but a postal system isn’t going to help with that these days, technology is quickly making it obsolete and if an when Haiti does grow, I bet you they don’t end up with a post office like you and I are talking about, because its clunky and wasteful, especially when insulated from market forces by legal monopolies.

    With regard to you proving there has been a mistake made, you are right, and that leads me to say once again that the cause of the problem is probably not the government, but your employers insurer or their legal counsel. Those things may in fact be the governments fault, but not because of the criminal records or identification portions.

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