Since it was officially decreed the greatest half a year EVER, with all sorts of major legislation on its way. We've had stimuli packages, cap-and-trade, and are working on health care reform. For such important legislation, they are all amazingly enough packaged in bills that are so long that there is absolutely no chance whatsoever that anyone, including the bill's supposed authors, will have read the entire bill. How can we predict the consequences of legislation if at the time of voting none of the voters understand what amounts to an enormously expensive Stephen King novel? How do we solve this problem*?
I was thinking about this problem today and have a couple of common sense solutions.
Let me tell you why I love Richard Feynman, among the many reasons. Feynman loved the process of science. He was not wedded to some search for TRUTH. He was a practical man. He simply wanted a slightly more predictive model of the world than he had the day before. And, he lived it. The guy went to clubs and scientifically experimented with pick-up lines.
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In the 1980s, Michael Milken went to jail for selling "junk bonds", which were risky debt. His crime? Offering to absorb all of the losses if he could have half the profits. Some of the bonds he sold yielded 18%. Like I said, risky. He made a lofty set of claims, vague threats and some questionable promises to get people to buy them.
California state Treasurer Bill Lockyer is also selling junk bonds and using vague threats and questionable promises, but these ones only yield 6%. Chances of him going to jail? Not high, because he's exempt unless he engages in dog fighting or runs over a kid in the parking lot.