flaming error writes: Could software engineers fix America's federal government?
Software engineers are strong in skills that others may lack. They know, for example, that design choices are imperfect trade-offs, that a cost/benefit analysis must analyze both the costs *and* the benefits. They know that the best design is generally the simplest design that meets the requirements, that lines of code *deleted* are more helpful than lines of code added.
What if legislators were all software engineers? I would like to think they would go back to the original spec, the Preamble, and the original design, the Constitution — and delete nearly everything since. Every legislative bill ever written that strayed from the legislature's enumerated powers would be deleted, every extra-constitutional federal bureaucracy shuttered.
The federal government would no longer be an ATM machine. Programs we loathe would be scrapped, programs we love would be scrapped, programs we've invested in or have come to depend on would all be scrapped, if they are outside the scope of the core design (which can evolve, but only under properly approved Engineering Change Orders).
America would no longer police the world. We would sustain no military presence within other countries' borders. Any war would require causus belli and be initiated and terminated by Congress, not by the military or its commander-in-chief.
The federal government would no longer regulate the citizens, nor track them, nor even necessarily know who they are. Births, deaths, marriages, crime, and taxes would be managed by the several states, who would each be obliged to respect the decisions of the others. Federal taxes would be paid exclusively by the states, and assessed proportional to their representation in Congress.
It would hurt us all. But it could result in a coherent product that really works.