Why is Congress so clueless about tech? Because they fired all their experts 20 years ago

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it’s hard to imagine a stupider decision than jettisoning technology experts on the eve of the 21st century…

I know one! Call on me!

How about saving money by cutting back on tax enforcement? Every dollar spent there yields something like $20 in revenue. There are dozens of other examples.


Or the 17:1 payback from keeping LEAD out of the drinking water (also nom nomey paint chips!)
of course I learned about it from a satirical cable TeeVee news show (thx Mr Stew… eerrrrr Oliver)


The ‘Big heads out, stop edumication’ bill. Or B-hose as it’s come to be known.


In a similar vein, there have been efforts over the years to curb or eliminate the Congressional Research Service reports, which are just as the name suggests, reports on various issues of the day generated to give an outline of background information to members of Congress. Over the years, the CRS has done a pretty good job of remaining even-handed and fact-based, but of course there have been efforts to politicize the office or get rid of it, for the sin of being, you know, fact-based. Right now, CRS reports can’t be officially released to the public, because it would be terrible if the public were exposed to facts.


Doesn’t anyone at least know a 16 year old nephew who got their VCR to stop blinking 12:00 they could call?


I’m just sayin’.


How about cause they are old? Senate and Congress positions should have hard term limits, this lifer stuff is idiotic. At the rate society in general is changing someone who is 80 is going to have a hard time relating to what the average middle age person is experiencing. These positions should be about the privilege of working for your country, not making money and having great benefits.


deleted, replied to wrong comment

Cause and effect, ur doing it wrong. They’re NOT ignorant because they fired their scientists. They fired them because they’re willfully ignorant. When experts tell them something that they don’t want to hear, say that tax cuts won’t magically result in more revenue, the answer is to fire the experts. Because when you’re elected on a platform of putting a candy crapping unicorn in every garage, you can’t let some stupid biologist tell you that’s impossible.


Well, the old senator still has a VCR they can watch Matlock reruns. Nephew (or niece) comes over, wonders WTF that giant tape recorder thing is and why is it blinking 12:00? Is told it is a VCR, and the blinking is just what it does. You used to be able to set the time, but that knowledge is lost to the ancients. Said nephew/niece fiddles with it for 2 min and set the time.

“Are you a wizard?”


I know I’m being anal, but you mean “principal” source of technological expertise. We don’t really know if they were “principled” back then.

It’s been 21 years since the Republican Congress zeroed out the $20M budget of the Office of Technology Assessment, a casualty of Newt Gingrich’s “Contract With America” that deprived Congress of its principle source of technological expertise.

It’s been 21 years since the Republican Congress zeroed out the $20M budget of the Office of Technology Assessment, a casualty of Newt Gingrich’s “Contract With on America” that deprived Congress of its principle source of technological expertise.



Did you know the word senator and the word senile come from the same Latin root?


That’s not how “fiscal conservatism” works. You don’t target things that actually take up significant amounts of money, like the $1.5 Trillion (and counting) Joint Strike Fighter program that has yet to do anything remotely useful. Because if you target things that actually cost a lot of money you’re going to anger a lot of people who benefit from getting that money.

Cutting a program that only employed 140 technology geeks? That’s a politically savvy move any ignoramus can get behind.


Republicans see government working as a burden on society instead of working as an investment in society so they basically do everything wrong.


“Government isn’t the solution, it’s the problem. Put us in charge and we’ll prove it.” —GOP


Stick Constitutional Originalists carefully ignore the preamble to the Constitution and the fact that the Constitution defines a government. Because liberty.


"The fact that Congress is flying blind, technologically speaking, explains an awful lot, from climate change denial to the crypto wars to SOPA and the Office of Personnel Management breach."
That was a feature, not a bug. It was never about the money. They were setting up the plausible deniability (of reality) for the current crop of Republicans, allowing them to be beholden to lobbyists unencumbered by any responsibility to the facts. A good business decision.


“A panel of independent experts, producing facts”–well, there’s your problem right there. Can’t have that!