The welfare state is so vast and complex that it often works against itself. Regulations and taxes kill jobs and work incentives, but EITC subsidies are supposed to boost incentives. The government tells women to breastfeed, but the federal WIC program subsidizes baby formula.
In this essay on government construction projects, I discuss how promoters use “strategic misrepresentation” to subdue taxpayer opposition and get dubious spending schemes approved. The low-balling of projected costs is a tried and true deception used by infrastructure promoters the world over.
WIC makes no sense. American pediatricians universally recommend breastfeeding, as do government health officials. Yet the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) runs a $6 billion subsidy program that induces mothers to use manufactured baby formula.
The federal government has funded job training programs for decades, but they have never worked very well.
The government takes obesity so seriously that it funds a $78 billion program for people to buy any type of food they want at 250,000 retail stores nationwide. The program subsidizes 46 million people to buy items such as “soft drinks, candy, cookies, snack crackers, and ice cream
We would have less antibiotic overuse and resistance if government just let people keep their own money to spend on health care.
People criticize business subsidies because they harm taxpayers. But there is another group harmed by business subsidies: the recipients. Government welfare for low-income families induces unproductive behaviors, but the same is true for companies taking corporate welfare.
Bloomberg reports that the Port of Los Angeles is increasing automation with the installation of self-driving cranes and other equipment. The automation is being partly driven by the need to minimize the use of high cost and troublesome unionized labor.
The problem with the federal government is not just its vast size, but its increasing scope. It has expanded into many areas that should be left to state and local governments, businesses, charities, and individuals. The federal expansion is sucking the life out of the private sector and creating a top-down bureaucratic society.
Large spending cuts should be on the agenda when the next president enters office in 2017. Spending cuts would spur economic growth by shifting resources from lower-valued government activities to higher-valued private ones.
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