Government Efficiency

I recently criticized the idea that policymakers should focus their attention on making government more “efficient.” Instead, I argued that policymakers should focus their reform efforts on reducing government’s size.

Government efficiency proponents make the mistake of viewing the cost of government in the same light as the cost of operating a private business. However, government cannot operate like a business because it isn’t a business.

Private businesses obtain their revenue through voluntary exchange: consumers willingly give a business their money in return for a product. Businesses must control the cost of providing a product in order to maximize profits. A business that does not adequately control its costs can find itself undercut by a competitor offering a like product at a lower price. In the private sector, the market sets the price of a product through the interaction of supply and demand.

Government is unconcerned with “profit.” The “cost” of government is equal to the taxes extracted from the private sector to pay for government activities, plus the economic damage caused by extracting resources from the private sector. Taxes are involuntarily obtained through compulsion and force. Regardless of the value a citizen assigns to the services provided by government, a citizen must pay for those services, and at a price set by government. The price one pays for government is primarily a function of political factors, which are only indirectly influenced by economic considerations.

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Obama’s Dubious Purchase of the Free Market

When people respond to the claim that Obama is not friendly to “business” they normally start with something like… ‘How can you say that? He (Obama) bailed out the banks, the auto makers and the insurance companies!’ If you claim he is anti-small business, they will point to one of the dozens of tax credits…

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What Has Government Done to This Country?

50 Mind Blowing Facts About America That Our Founding Fathers Never Would Have Believed – from the Economic Collapse Blog: If our Founding Fathers were alive today, what would they think of America? Surely they would be very proud that the United States stretches from the Atlantic to the Pacific and has built some of…

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A Government-Made Recession

By mid 2008 almost everybody knew that we were in deep financial trouble. But the forces that brought it about actually began decades ago with The Community Reinvestment Act in 1977. This legislation “forced lending institutions to grant mortgages to people whose income, credit histories, and net worth would previously have disqualified them from getting such loans.”

An old adage suggests that in getting a loan from a bank the recipient must first prove that he does not need one by listing his assets. The bank uses this list to retrieve all or a portion of what is owed should the recipient default on the loan. The less invested or potentially lost the easier it is for the recipient to walk or default. Such is long standing wisdom and favors the more industrious individuals, as it should. What this means in real life is that high crime or impoverished areas of town do not attract investors as readily.

Socialists (share the wealth advocates) saw a race connection, thus injustice, when it was realized that “only 72 percent of minority applicants were approved for mortgages, versus 89 percent of white applicants.” Moral outrage followed which was resolved by legislation ”forcing lending institutions to loan money to people they would otherwise not lend to and in places where they would otherwise not put their money” (“Government Bailout,” The New American, Sept. 29, 2008, pp.11-15).

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When Cars Run on Corn

Here’s Matt Purple in “Corny Capitalism,” posted on American Spectator at the end of August:

Earlier this year, the Environmental Protection Agency issued another one of those announcements read exclusively by government bureaucrats and green policy wonks. The EPA decided to delay a decision to increase the concentration of ethanol legal in gasoline from 10% to 15%. So-called E15 fuel would have to wait for approval until November.

It was a little-read regulatory decision that barely made a splash in the media. But it was also a rock thrown at Washington’s hornets’ nest of food and agricultural lobbyists. “We are disappointed,” warned food giant Archer Daniels Midland. “We find this further delay unacceptable” and a “dereliction of duty,” harrumphed ethanol lobbying group Growth Energy.

…The history of ethanol is a sad torrid affair of crony capitalism and green fantasies. By jumping in bed with the agriculture industry and blindly slapping on new regulations, the government artificially propped up an industry and put itself in a bind from which there may be no return.

Most certainly, the EPA decision is only a delay, not a reprieve.

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Texas and the EPA

Texas vs. EPA update: At this moment, the State of Texas is clashing with the EPA over the EPA’s arbitrary and unconstitutional changes to the Clean Air Act.  (The EPA seems to have forgotten that Congress, not a department of the executive branch, writes our laws.)  The whole story is here: http://www.washingtontimes.com/news/2010/aug/25/texas-fights-global-warming-power-grab/?page=1 Texas Attorney General…

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Yarmuth stumbles into the truth

Every line of thought moves toward a logical conclusion. But few ever carry their thinking far enough to grasp the ultimate ramifications of their ideas. In a recent radio interview, Congressman John Yarmuth (D-Ky.) inadvertently walked right up to the edge of the cliff waiting for those who hold to the progressive notion of a…

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Obama’s Dubious Purchase of the Free Market

When people respond to the claim that Obama is not friendly to “business” they normally start with something like… ‘How can you say that? He (Obama) bailed out the banks, the auto makers and the insurance companies!’  If you claim he is anti-small business, they will point to one of the dozens of tax credits…

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Abolish the TSA

This latest outrage just reminds us of the folly of government airline security. Supposedly there to protect us against terrorists, the TSA works with police and law enforcement agencies when it detects behavior it deems suspicious—which in many cases can lead to crackdowns on victimless crimes or invasions into the private lives of travelers. Kathy…

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