Diary

Buying a Computer

Buying a computer off the shelf can be a real pain in the neck.  Yes, it’s easy in one sense to just go to Walmart, Best Buy, etc. and find a cheap laptop or even a desktop and monitor set.  It seems like it won’t break the bank and if you’re shopping at Walmart, you can put it (a laptop at least) in the cart right next to the fruits and vegetables (many from foreign countries where standards could potentially be lax) that certain busybodies say we must eat.

The less expensive computers at these kinds of stores are designed for people who do not plan to maximize the potential of a computer.  Often, they have a lousy graphics card which may be fine for watching YouTube videos and acting as just a consumer but is not good for any kind of graphic work.  Other options are limited.  Still, even if people are only going to do the bare minimum, they ought to research computers and make sure that they are getting the most bang for the amount of money they plan to spend.

These computers sometimes can come loaded with “bloatware” such as trials for programs the user never intends to buy, or programs to make the computer “easier” but which tend to just get in the way as time goes on. They can even cause conflicts with the programs users actually willfully load into their computers. Ultimately, all these unnecessary add ons chew into the limited processing power of a cheap computer.

If the unnecessary programs that came installed on the computer become a problem, a user can either learn how to uninstall them, find a twelve year old, or, worst case scenario, hire someone to get rid of the problem.  If they have a laptop and the limited hardware is an impediment for them and cannot be solved by peripherals or increasing the memory, chances are they have to get a new computer.  This means spending more money and taking more time to set up another computer.

It’s great that we have choices in this regard.  We can generally uninstall the bloatware that comes preloaded, and we have the opportunity, if money is available, to get a better computer.  These steps may be necessary as one goes from just a consumer using the computer for the basics to a “power user.”

In other aspects of life, we do not have such choices.  We have a government with often bloated, inefficient bureaucracies that may even duplicate the functions done by other bloated and inefficient bureaucracies.  We have politicians who, like computers, can become corrupted after lots of use.  Career politicians tend to lose sight of the challenges faced by the average constituent.

There is limited “processing power” (money) to continue to support these inefficiencies.  Newer computer programs and the collective set of computer programs on an individual system continue to demand more processing power.  Likewise, politicians, bureaucrats, lobbyists, etc. continue to demand more “processing power.”

The answer seems to be “tax the rich” to provide for the insatiable appetite by those who want to grow the reach of the federal government.  If the government took absolutely everything away from “the rich” it still would never be able to satisfy those who want to keep growing the power and reach of the government.  Once the resources of “the rich” are exhausted, who becomes the “new rich”?  The middle class.  Once they’re exhausted?  Then the lower class.   After the government exhausts the resources of absolutely everyone, it might be difficult to justify borrowing more from China….when one of the biggest markets for China’s cheap garbage has collapsed.

When people talk about cutting the costs of government, immediately supporters of the status quo bloat say “But you’re going to cut the people maintaining the roads, as well as the police, the firefighters, etc.!”  It’s just a kneejerk reaction to avoid rolling up our sleeves and looking deep into the spending going on with the government to find inefficiencies and eliminate them.   Nobody in their right mind wants to eliminate the basics of government such as police and firefighters; they want to eliminate the unnecessary “bloatware” type functions.  Or, short of that, at least get them to be more efficient which will result in at least limited savings….so the politicians and bureaucrats can dream up new ways to waste the money.  The kneejerk reactions remind me of programs that ask “Are you REALLY sure you want to uninstall <program name>?”

Speaking of uninstalling, we can use the voting booth to “uninstall” a particular politician when they happen to come up for reelection.  Prior to and even just after being “uninstalled,” however, a corrupt politician, just like a corrupted program, can do much damage.

Ultimately, with the amount of bloat in the government and the increasing resources it demands, our abilities to do more than just be basic consumers within our own life decisions will continue to be reduced.  With fewer opportunities to make our own decisions (instead of distant government bureaucrats who lack the knowledge or concern about our own situation to make the best decision for us), we have less chance to live a fulfilling life.

What can we do about this?  We need to heavily research the “products” available, such as political candidates.  We need to continue to monitor what our own elected representatives are doing.  We need to continue to pay attention to what the rest of the government is doing.  We need to educate ourselves on how the government actually works.  And, we need to gain an understanding of what the government is doing, where it is spending our money, and be ready to examine where the government could cut its spending and discuss it.  We also need to reject kneejerk statements like “All we can do is cut the police and fire departments!”  These kinds of statements are designed to shut down conversations that must happen before they even get started.  We need to think outside the box.

The intricacies of government may seem boring.  But it is our duty to learn about them and be able to discuss them.  In life, we do not need to be relegated to the equivalent of a user of the cheapest computer at Walmart.