Thursday, September 15, 2005

Untested government legislation can kill you

Beware of bugs in the above code; I have only proved it correct, not tried it.
- Donald Knuth, computer scientist (1938- )

Most of us have experienced problems with computer programs that do things that don't make sense. We freely blame the programmer, while at the same time we nonchalantly accept activities and programs by our governments and their respective agencies that are little beyond the stage that Knuth describes in the quote.

Top down government fails in the same way that top down business or top down computer programming fails. If the most important people in the business or in the government system are not well served by a policy or program, it will surely fail.

The most important people in a business are those who deal directly with customers, as they are the ones on whose shoulders rest the income of the company. In a government program, the most important people are those the program is intended to help, not those who administer the program or those who pass the legislation to implement the bill.

When legislation wording, protocol and red tape get in the way of helping people, governments fail their people. This was never more evident than in the aftermath of the recent tragedy in the southern US.

Never mind if a program should theoretically work. If a government program doesn't serve the needs of its people, it is a waste of tax money and a fraud on the part of legislators who made it happen.

Bill Allin
'Turning It Around: Causes and Cures for Today's Epidemic Social Problems,' striving to give people the skills with which they may survive and thrive. Learn more at

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