When designing a pump system, efficiency is part of the equation in several ways. For instance, there is hydraulic efficiency if you are dealing with a centrifugal pump; a centrifugal pump doesn’t move 100% of the liquid it receives on every rotation. Some can slip past the impeller due to clearances in the pump.
Likewise, there is mechanical efficiency to consider. If you use an electric motor to drive a pump through a belt drive, there is an efficiency loss in the system where energy is lost due to friction and vibration. This is true of any mechanical system, period, full stop. 100 horsepower in does not equal 100 horsepower out. The goal of engineers is to minimize this lost efficiency in any given system.
In a similar way, there is an efficiency loss associated with a large government. The Federal Government takes money from pretty much everybody, stirs it around, consumes a certain percentage of it, and doles it out as it sees fit, in (theoretical) benefits for the population of one sort or another, including defense, services, and others.
The amount consumed by the government represents a loss of efficiency in the system. Big bureaucracies, doing functions that are not essential, many of which actively work against a robust economy (such as the EPA). People in the government like Nancy Pelosi who personally was responsible for spending $2.1 million dollars in two years for her convenience in traveling.
Pelosi has spent more on booze and food for those flights than I will pay in total taxes in twelve years of my life. Her commuting costs, at taxpayer expense, for the last two years exceed my total income for more than 40 years of my life. For her convenience.
Damn right I’m mad.
Granted, Pelosi is an extreme example. But multiply just a small portion of that by the 2.15 million people on the federal payroll for 2010. That represents a huge amount of our money being wasted. A loss of efficiency in our economy.
And that is one major non-ideological reason to have a smaller, more efficient government.