Your Tax Dollars Down The Toilet

The Pittsburgh Tribune-Review finds billions of dollars of government waste paid for by the US taxpayers. From the Department of Education, to Social Security, to Medicare, no government agency is immunie for billions of dollars of waste.

Remember, this is the same government that supposedly can’t afford to give you a tax cut…

7 thoughts on “Your Tax Dollars Down The Toilet

  1. Isn’t some waste to be expected in an organization that’s not driven by profit motive? There’s no incentive to streamline, after all.

    Pointing this out seems about as insightful as saying that “midgets are short”.

  2. With as much waste as there is in government, it can’t compete with the level of waste accepted in many of the infallible “faith-based charities” that Bush wants to give a blank check to. Part of every dollar given to the monstrously corrupt United Way already goes to pay the pension of their former chairman who is sitting in a jail cell for embezzling United Way funds during his tenure there. Perhaps with Bush’s “faith-based” windfall, he’ll be able to get a raise…and then we can really have a discussion about government waste.


    We have a winner – partially…

    You’re absolutely right that government is less efficient by nature than the private sector, but your reasons aren’t *quite* right. It’s less a matter of profit motive than it is of accountability.

    For example, if you steal from the till at work, you have a good chance of getting caught. If you’re caught, the best you can hope for is losing your job. At worst, you end up in prison.

    If you’re a government employee and you mishandle government funds, the chances of getting caught are slim. Moreover, you’ll virtually guaranteed that you’ll get a budget increase year after year at a rate higher than inflation. Under such conditions, you’re spending someone else’s money on someone else, and you’re under little or no pressure to account for where that money goes? So in essence, you have no incentive to economize and no incentive to increase quality. It’s the worst kind of spending, and it guarantees inefficiency and low quality. That’s the general theory of why it’s always preferable to utilize the free market over government control.

    Mark: Thank you for that wonderful illustration of the
    fallacy of composition
    . Unless you can prove that corruption is more prevalent on the whole of the private sector rather than corruption being more prevalent on the whole of the government, your point has no standing.

  4. Wait a minute here. You’re offering blanket statements of government incompetence without proof, but somehow my statements need validation and yours don’t. Interesting hypocrisy…and par for your course. I stand by my statement that anything to do with charity has less incentive for efficiency than government since there are no elections that prompt employee turnover in charities as there is with government….and the fact that nobody questions charities’ integrity since they operate within a context of selflessly helping people, or worse, “religion.” There are many people who believe anything done in the name of Christianity must be entirely wholesome. Mind you, I’m not trying to disparage charities as a whole the way you are with government employees…but I am suggesting they are less prone to efficiency and more prone to corruption that the government employee boogeymen.

    Beyond that, once you start putting forward numbers showing how the inefficiency of government has cost the economy as much as the overzealous fraud of private entities such as Enron and WorldCom, then you’re argument will have some credibility. Right now, it’s rhetoric just like mine.

  5. I illustrated a concept from general principles, while you were attempting to argue that one instance is representative of the whole.

    Furhermore, your point about elections ignores the fact that the civil service bureaucracy is not elected, but hired. Most program administrators are not only unelected, but are immune from censure because of civil service protections. You have a class of people who can’t be fired without blatant corruption and who have no direct accountability to anyone. Are you seriously arguing that such a situation is not inefficient?

    Furthermore, most private charities do have boards which oversee operations and prevent widespread fraud. By your own example, heads of charities who commit fraud end up in jail, while those who plunder from the treasury or mismanage government programs rarely if ever recieve any kind of punishment.

    Also, based on even the most conservative estimates of government fraud and abuse, the amount lost from the government in the same period as Enron was making their shady accounting practices would be in the trillions of dollars – far outshadowing the costs of Enron or WorldCom. Furthermore, while Enron has been substantially reformed and is under legal censure, those who steal from our tax dollars are getting away scot free.

  6. Yes, civil servants are hired and not elected. However, there’s a constant turnover of political leadership that oversees these positions…and every new round of leadership has different priorities for these employees. I doubt there are too many government workers who see their positions as very stable this day and age. I’m sure there are isolated incidents of government employees being dangerously blase about their position, but having worked in one of these jobs myself one summer and wasting away to 115 pounds from the constant running, I can assure you that government workers have supervisors pushing for results the same as private sector jobs.

    You do make a good point about government floundering more money than Enron and WorldCom do. Your buddies in the Pentagon, for example, have reportedly misplaced $8,000 for every man, woman and child in America. I am surprised to hear that Ken Lay and Jeffrey Skilling have now given up their remaining mansions and are currently in jail. I must have missed that story between all the news reports of the “indestructible” government employees who bounce bullets off of their chests getting pink slipped.

  7. Having worked for the State of California now for about 12 years, I can assure you that the level of waste and abuse is frighteningly high. Elected officials come and go, yes with their own agendas, but the departments, bureaus, divisions, sections, etc., of government still grow their little empires with no regard for budget constraints. One example of the most common abuse is the end-of-year spending spree. If a section, division, whatever, looks like it might have some money left toward the end of the fiscal year: new computers! new phones! new furniture!! New stuff! Anything to make sure that nobody considers giving you less the next year. Yes, there are more good employees than bad, but the system does not encourage or reward fiscal restraint, but instead, the mindset it that it punishes it.

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