Today Thomas Schatz the President of Citizens Against Government Waste revealed some frightening numbers. Adjusted for inflation, federal spending has gone up from an average of $882 billion per year in the 1980s to $1.48 trillion a year in the '90s to $2.44 trillion a year in the first decade of the 21st century. The government will spend as much in the first four years of the new decade as it did in all of the 1990s.
In other words we are snowballing out of control! 7 of the nation's 10 richest counties now surround Washington DC. The average government worker's compensation now stands at over $126,000 a year. What is producing this wealth? Government. As Forbes pointed out in an article last year even the private sector jobs in those counties are almost completely reliant upon government contracts. A government obviously has no money of it's own without taxes. So they have taxed the rest of the nation and reinvested our money in projects that make's the DC metropolitan area a lot richer. But it's not exclusive to the DC area. The 4th wealthiest county in America is Los Alamos NM. They're home to Dept of Energy's National Lab.
In order for a community to thrive in today's economy they have to make a deal with the federal government. And of course once that deal is cut no one in that community wants to see it end. Now they have a vested interest in seeing it grow. The more people government can get on the government payroll or at least dependent upon government spending, the easier it is to pass spending increases.
Our government doesn't invest our money wisely. It's not spent for betterment of all. It's spent for the betterment of their friends. When you think of any government program it is filled with pork. Defense, Education, Transportation, whatever. They're all bloated and run inefficently. Even the amount of agencies we have is bloated. Currently at about 1000. Of course having all of these agencies leads to great confusion which is why we waste over 70 billion dollars per year in what the government recognizes as improper payments.
Some of the amazing "proper payments" include spending 3.9 million dollars to rearrainge the desks of 1,750 employees at the DC headquarters of the SEC. Every year Airforce One has to get new publicity photos of itself over national landmarks at $60,000 per hour. Close to 2 billion per year on maintance of unused government buildings. Say hello to where over a million of our tax dollars go each year. The David Dyer Federal Courthouse in Miami which has been closed since 2007.
The obvious question is if they know this is happening why don't they stop doing it? The obvious answer is because people rely on that money. The guys who do the maintenance on those buildings don't want to lose their jobs. The photographer and everyone associated with the photo shoots want that job. Even the interior decorator and moving guys who pushed office furniture all around the SEC headquarters wanted that job! Their point would be "I'm doing the job I was paid for"!
The only way to fix the government spending problem, in my opinion, is to stop rewarding the politicians who get more money for their projects. When a Congressman or Senator "fights hard for you", they're really trying to get more money out of Washington then you paid in. That creates jobs, which in turn creates grateful voters I was talking to guy over the weekend who was familiar with the bridge to nowhere debacle. He made a strong case for why that bridge would have been valuable to the 8000 citizens of Ketchikan Alaska. My take was the 8000 citizens needed to go get a loan and build it themselves. They could slap a nice toll on it and if it really was such a great idea then they would reap the rewards. They would certainly build it for less money than the feds would. And they would manage it better too. The more a person, a family or community is invested in anything, the more care is taken.
Some things have to be run by the feds, but a lot don't. Decentralizing power back to the states, counties, and towns will in fact save the taxpayers billions in efficiency and even more in better decisions. Tell your elected officials that you will reward them based on how well they do wrangling power away from DC as opposed to how much money they wrangle. To remind you of how important that is, here's a picture of 2 ticks that started out at the same size. Because national government like a tick doesn't have any comprehension that it's bloated till it pops.