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  • Writer's pictureLloyd Richardson

Richardson's Rules

Government, Politics, Reform, Taxes, Education, Healthcare, and Others.

On Government:

Government is a necessary evil, but evil nonetheless.

Plato was the first totalitarian (hence philosopher kings).

Aristotle was the first conservative.

Plato asked, how do I want people to behave?

Now how can they best be governed to achieve that behavior?

Aristotle asked, how do people actually behave?

Now how can they best be governed to fulfill themselves?

Government has only 3 proper functions:

  1. Provide for the common defense (external threats);

  2. Exercise the police power (domestic threats);

  3. Protect the public fisc through sound financial management,

funds being needed only to finance the first two functions.

A fourth function is often proposed: To maximize the general welfare,

Government should play the role of ‘patient investor,’

thereby making long-term infrastructure development possible.

This is fallacy: Government did not build the railroads,

and there is a related reason why most state constitutions prohibit lending of credit.

Jefferson said, That government is best which governs least.

Coolidge was a firm believer in the Law of Unintended Consequences: hence he said,

Taking no action is always a valid policy option.

Keep a piece of cooked spaghetti on your desk; every time you want to “accomplish something”

push on one end of the pasta: this will remind you how little control you have and will promote humility.

Whenever you have a ‘great idea,’ remember the poor slob demonstrating alone in front of Ottawa’s capital building on a cold, gray winter afternoon in 1982, who carried a placard reminding Pierre Trudeau (Canada’s most prominent intellectual, just ask him), “Your stupid idea didn’t work!” This will also promote humility.

Government has no revenue except taxes, which are raised through compulsion.

Government can borrow, but debt can only be repaid through taxes.

Citizens should be skeptical of even the best government; cynicism however, is unacceptable in a democracy and derives from government corruption.

Civil servants are dirigistes by constitution.

It was Eisenhower who coined the term “military industrial complex” and mistrusted them all.

RIFs are hard politically. Reagan used a freeze and let time take its course over 8 years, while the private sector continued to grow in absolute and relative terms. Add a buyout to supercharge the process. The goal in all events is to get them out of the government, where they will do less damage.

Flatten the bureaucracy: Obama added more new GS-15 and SES positions than any other president ever, so that now almost half a million federal workers make six figure incomes, making a public sector career, including salary and benefits, more lucrative than the private sector, on average, according to Factor’s Shadowbosses.

On Politics:

Politics without policy is just power.

Power corrupts.

Consult as widely as possible, then ignore them all and decide.

Never threaten.

Don’t get mad, get even.

Never announce: The best accomplishments occur out of the public eye.

Only actors, professional athletes, journalists, politicians and other insecure love slobs tweet.

Democrats need power; Republicans need to be loved;

both are compulsive, irresponsible, and not to be trusted.

All politicians are generous by nature: after all, it is your money.

Truman apparently never did say, You have no friends in Washington; if you need a friend, get a dog, but he should have.

On Reform:


The Senate needs to take responsibility for making decisions again, after responsible debate.

The House needs to take responsibility for passing a budget again.

The performance of the judiciary—including the SCt-- needs to be assessed by the House every 5 years.

(The Senate hires judges; the House should fire them. And yes, it’s constitutional.)

Was direct election of senators really an improvement in democracy? If not, considerations of federalism would seem to militate for rescission of this amendment.


Yes, it needs reform, but first we need a separate deal with Mexico. The old Bracero program which

lasted from WWII until allowed by Congress to expire in 1964 needs to be reinstated, but

only in exchange for US development rights in the Mexican oil industry.

US Tax System:

The worst corporate tax system among the industrialized nations, and a bigger threat to capitalism than

the Soviet Union ever was. The individual system is just silly.


“Teachers union” is a contradiction in terms. Privatize them!

Splitting the “E” out of HEW was something only someone like Carter could have dreamed up.

Tell me again, where in the Constitution this power is delegated to the federal government?


My only question for those Congressional types who oppose repeal of Obamacare is, “Have you read it yet?”

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