No machine works with 100% efficiency. A centrifugal pump, for instance, might have a 65% efficiency, which represents the power wasted by the pump in imparting kinetic energy to whatever you are pumping. The point is, you put more horsepower in than you get out.
In a similar way, whenever a government does something with tax money, no matter what it is, there is always a substantial loss due to the system inefficiency. Just as with the pump, the question is whether the efficiency is good enough to make the operation viable and cost effective.
Think about the federal government for a moment; what is the product of the federal government? Why does it cost so much?
Well, according to this, 25% goes to the military. That’s an important service. Based on Obama’s budget of $3.7 trillion (a number so large we’re using text instead of zeros), that means the military spends a bit less than $1 trillion. That leaves about $2.7 trillion for everything else.
What do we get for that $2.7 trillion dollars? Management services. We are paying almost $3 trillion a year for management services. And they are borrowing almost 40% of that!
I have to say that, in my view, most of the federal government is parasitic in nature. The military is necessary; foreign diplomacy is necessary; having a consistent national legal system to protect our rights is necessary; organizing things like, for instance, traffic laws and markings that are consistent across the nation, is necessary. Beyond that – not so much.
I have estimated that it takes the total tax revenue of about a dozen tax payers to pay for the salary, benefits and operating expenses of just one average government employee. (Average, I say. Then you have Nancy Pelosi spending three times that much for peanuts and drinks on her federally provided jets, when she was speaker of the House.) Waste!
I don’t believe that the federal government has any business – or constitutional mandate – to take care of citizens in the sense of feeding us or providing us medical care. Or even regulating the amount of lead in paint. People know lead is dangerous, and when the word got out, people quit buying it – and manufacturers quit making it.
The EPA, for instance, is currently shutting down coal fired power plants across the nation – 16 or so in Texas alone – to protect us against man-made global warming. That is a hypothesis that has by no means been proven, and for which scientists had to fudge their data to even make their case. Yet the federal government, in the person of the EPA, is wrecking our economy to protect us from this ephemeral, unproven threat. And the steps they are taking to do so might not make any difference even if it was real.
We’d be way better off without the EPA. They aren’t helping! The same is true of many other government agencies.
I can easily see an America in which the entire federal government, including military, is much less than $1 trillion – shucks, it used to be that way. Back when we could afford it.
The federal money pump is extremely inefficient. It has a huge amount of waste built in, partly because it is just plain inefficient, but mostly because it is doing so many, many things that it was never intended to do.
And we, the people, are paying for the party.