From the Bad Idea Department – The Quadrant System: Fixing the Budgeting Problem

It seems like every year in the United States there’s another crisis when polarized senators can’t agree on a budget. Everyone has their own priorities and causes they need to support to make good on the bribes campaign contributions they were given, and everyone needs to posture to make their constituents think they care about them.

The problem here is that sometimes this posturing results in real people being affected. The government shuts down, workers get furloughed, Santa has to stop making toys, and the works get generally mucked up. What if I told you I had a solution to the nation’s budget woes, and all it required was eliminating 99% of the federal government?

All Fours

Welcome to the fabulous world of the quadrant system, because four is the magic number. Here’s the plan.

  1. Eliminate budgets for all branches of the government and all programs, except for the military
  2. Liquidate all government assets and sell/burn all federal properties/salt ground of unsold buildings so that no crops can grow there for a thousand years
  3. Pass law eliminating all laws except those pertaining to the military, dissolve federal and state governments, placing military in supreme control
  4. Divide the nation into four equally sized quadrants, completely autonomous of each other, with no ruling power in place

Congratulations! We’ve now created a lawless power vacuum!

How I Learned to Stop Worrying and Love the Vacuum

Any physicist will tell you that vacuums like to be filled, and our four part power vacuum is no exception.

The first thing that will happen is looting and anarchy will probably prevail, since there are no longer any laws, and even if there were, we abolished the police force. Then, things will settle down a bit and various groups will form militias and start vying for power. We’ll call this, ‘The Warlord System.’ It’s basically the new form of government on a local level. We can hope that these militant groups will take on flamboyant identifiers like the gangs in The Warriors, but this isn’t a string requirement of the Quadrant System.

The warlords will start fighting each other because you can’t be a warlord without war and you can’t be a lord without winning the war and it is called the warlord system after all, and eventually some war lords will come out on top.

Maintaining a Healthy Vacuum

When a warlord prevails in their quadrant, we risk forming a new stable government. This is where the still extremely well funded military comes in (remember they now have the entire budget of the federal government).

Any time a warlord starts to become powerful enough to create a stable governing body, the military comes to the stabilizing quadrant and overthrows that warlord.

Why? Well, if a warlord becomes powerful enough to form an actual government, they’ll start collecting taxes, and if they start collecting taxes they’ll need to form a budget, and if they create a budget we risk running into the reason we started this system to begin with. So we’ll avoid this possibility by overthrowing anyone who threatens the perpetual state of quadratic anarchy.

Putting down warlords before they get too organized is also important because it means no warlord can become powerful enough to challenge the roving military bands or warlords in other quadrants.

The Perfect System

Is this the perfect system? Well, no federal employee will ever again be furloughed, though, as a consequence of the system, there will no longer be any federal employees, and, as another consequence, we’ve turned the country into an anarchic hellscape.

The good news is, if anyone wants to flee the country or their quadrant, there will be fantastic infrastructure for doing so.


Credit to my brother Zach for devising this brilliant system in our basement late one night.

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