(Disclaimer- I had classes and/or have drank socially with both authors)
Great stuff on how politicians can choose to make government operations simpler and more effective, or more difficult to screw people over. Here's an excerpt that sets the book up.
Our goal in this book is to develop the concept in administrative burden as a framework for understanding how citizens and government interact with each other. In doing so, we illustrate the wide applicability of the concept across a variety of policy areas from welfare and health benefits to rights protected by the Constitution, such as the right to vote. Our examination of these policy areas shows that in some cases, political ideology or policy preferences lead politicians to use burdens to make government a source of hindrance rather than,of help. In this respect, burdens contribute to dysfunction by design, making government an ineffectual and,unwelcome presence in people's lives rather than an institution that solves problems.If you make people jump through 10 hoops to get the benefits they are entitled to, or even TO BE ABLE TO FREAKING VOTE, it is not surprising that some people don't care to make it all the way through. These are conscious choices made by policymakers, and it is often done in a much more hidden way than doing it through actual legislation or debate.
Which sure makes me wonder if the big "cost savings" that we've seen in Medicaid and other programs in recent years in Wisconsin aren't necessarily because of an improving economy, but because of GOP-imposed barriers that are designed to screw over poor people.
Side benefit for Republicans- making government adversarial and dysfunctional allows these bastards to say "See, it doesn't work for government to help people," and continue this downward spiral.
Evil stuff, and understanding how and why,it is done makes this book a very good read. Back to it.