Does Not Compute

John Seiler:

Over the years I’ve written many times how it  remains a mystery that the state that continues to produce the Internet Revolution can’t get its government computers to work right. That pretty much tells you all you need to know about how the public and private sectors operate. The private sector innovates, the public sector is incompetent.

About 15 years ago I wrote about how the state wasted something like $70 million on a computer system that didn’t work. Things haven’t gotten better, as Dan Walters notes:

When State Auditor Elaine Howle excoriated the state court system for mismanaging a very expensive computer system this month, it was a new chapter in an old and sad saga.

California, the home of cutting edge technology, has a very checkered history of using it effectively for government.

The “statewide case management project,” managed by the Administrative Office of the Courts, is the current poster child for rising costs and questionable utility.

Its costs, Howle noted, have escalated sharply and now are expected to hit $1.9 billion by the time it’s completed four years hence – not counting tens of millions of more that local courts will have to spend to use it. Meanwhile, many local judges are complaining that it doesn’t work well and is consuming funds that would be better spent offsetting budget-related cutbacks in court operations.

This is occurring in a state that houses the HQ of Apple, Facebook, Google, Yahoo, Intel, etc.

Here’s an idea. Why don’t we just abolish the state government, and let these competent high-tech firms run things?

Feb. 18, 2011

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