My op-ed in today’s New York Times has prompted numerous critical comments on theNYT website. Let me address some of them.
The tragic gas explosion in Harlem will likely revive complaints that America is a pothole nation with falling-down bridges, and that we desperately need to boost government infrastructure spending. The reality is more complex.
One of my favorite Adam Smith passages is:
The Obama administration released its 2015 budget this week. The budget shows federal debt held by the public falling from 74 percent of gross domestic product (GDP) this year to 69 percent by 2024. That reduction occurs even though entitlement and interest spending are projected to rise substantially as a percent of GDP.
The House Budget Committee chaired by Congressman Raul Ryan released a 204-page report on federal welfare programs Monday. It provides useful discussions of 92 programs that cost taxpayers $799 billion a year.
Subsidized flood insurance is one of the many federal programs that is counter to both sound economic policy and sound environmental policy. Congress created the National Flood Insurance Program (NFIP) in 1968 to help homeowners in flood-prone areas purchase insurance. The FEMA-run program covers floods from river surges and storms on the seacoasts.
The federal government took control of mortgage giants Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac (F&F) in 2008 and have bailed them out with $189 billion of taxpayer money.
In the media, one hears two different stories regarding the drought in California and Western water problems in general. Liberals say that droughts are being made worse by climate change. Conservatives say that water shortages are being perpetrated by the EPA in a misguided effort to sacrifice farmers for some tiny fish. The Washington Times editorial today is of the latter genre.
How many buildings does the federal government own? 10,000? 20,000? Actually, it is a staggering 306,000, according to the U.S. General Services Administration. In addition, the government leases 55,000 buildings, for a total of 361,000. These include offices, hospitals, warehouses, and other sorts of facilities. The chart shows federal buildings owned by department.
Media attention on the federal budget usually focuses on contentious issues, such as the debt limit, food stamp cuts, and Republican cave-ins. But let’s look at the big picture: What does the government spend almost $4 trillion of our money on each year?