William Thien

The Greater Cost of Government, Updated

Posted on: October 3, 2013

In my opinion, when one examines the various costs of government, the one which stands out as the most expensive is that portion of the government involved in the re-distribution of wealth.

However, when you see your tax dollars being spent to pay for the maintenance of roads or to cover the cost of policing, spent to improve the nation’s defense or to pay for public education, whatever, you see something tangible, something that you know is improving the condition of the country. Your tax dollars go directly to the purpose for which they were levied and the results are obvious and beneficial.

But when your tax dollars are merely given to someone else to pay for say the cost of having a child out-of-wedlock, for example, and raising that child or to pay for some other “social” expense which is the result of illicit behavior perhaps, you see very little return on your investment in tax dollars, if any. No roads which need to be repaired are repaired. Teachers suffer pay cuts. Areas that need policing are understaffed.

Yet, frequently when recipients of tax dollars from social programs see how much they can earn when applying for the dollars, they do it again, and again, and again, because the system is an enabler of such behavior.

Because you see little if any return on the investment of your tax dollars to cover those social programs, therein lies the greater cost of government. You receive a small ROI or “return on investment,” or poor performance of your tax dollars in the case of social program funding.

Furthermore, the actual process of levying taxes for what have been traditionally called “social” purposes and the cost of re-distributing the tax dollars is more substantial, more substantial because you see nothing from the dollars spent AND you have to pay a government employee who does nothing for those tax dollars except give the tax dollars to someone else, as opposed to a government employee who might be laying concrete in the streets, teaching your child, or policing the neighborhood. Just as importantly, the tax dollars that go to pay for the social programs draw from the funds needed for the real responsibilities of government.

Therefor the cost of social programs has a substantially greater draw on the taxpayer than other government responsibilities of the same dollar cost. In other words, you receive much less for each dollar spent on social programs than you do for each dollar spent on the maintenance of roads or public education.

Where am I going with this? Well, over the last decade much of the drive to decrease the size of government has been focused on the size of the government working classes when the greater cost of government, greater because it is much less productive and much more expensive, the greater cost of government has been the establishment of social programs which pay for such behaviors as I’ve described, pay for having children out-of-wedlock, paying for children that the parents could not afford in the first place, paying to raise, educate, and finally imprison many of the children because they frequently didn’t have both parents at home and didn’t have role models.

It is my opinion that we must not be so quick to decrease what I would then call “the functional” part of government, those that provide the tangible, obvious and necessary services we require in our day-to-day lives and instead shift our focus to curtail the costs of the socialist (often approaching communism) portion of our government because it is that portion of the government which provides little if any actual services required by the tax payer but taxes the taxpayer the most and is therefore the greater cost of government.

The sooner we as a country accomplish this change in political orientation, the better. Lest we be left with a non-functional government which does little else than take our tax dollars and give them to someone else. And it will be our fault for letting it happen when we could have addressed the matter all along.

Without elaborating, because I believe it is rather obvious, I believe this can only be accomplished if public sector employees and their unions, if they have them, stop aligning their politics with the socialist politician who wishes to give the tax dollar away in order to get elected, and instead look to the conservative side of the aisle, and I believe that the conservative side of the aisle should make overture and welcome them when and if that happens.

Copyright © William Thien 2013

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