The federal government owns more than one quarter of the land in the nation, about 640 million acres. The holdings are concentrated in the West, where it owns about half of the 11 westernmost states.
Federal workers are overpaid on wages by 2%, on average, and overpaid on benefits by a whopping 48%.
Congratulations to Senator James Lankford of Oklahoma for his new report “Federal Fumbles.” The senator and his staff identify 100 screw-ups in federal programs and agencies, and propose some modest fixes.
I have proposed that America adopt a Canadian-British innovation to encourage greater household savings. Canada’s Tax Free Savings Accounts (TFSAs) and Britain’s Individual Savings Accounts (ISAs) are revolutionizing savings for moderate- and middle-income families in those countries.
With two Republican presidential candidates embracing a value-added tax (VAT), it is worth looking back at the original federal debate over that bad policy idea. Richard Nixon appears to have been the first U.S. leader to push for a VAT, which is not surprising given that he was perhaps the most statist GOP president of the 20th century. With a three-percent VAT in mind, Nixon called for new federal financing of local schools in his 1972 State of the Union address.
The U.S. Department of Education spends tens of billions of dollars a year on subsidies for higher education. Federal Pell grants are more than $30 billion a year, federal student loans are about $100 billion a year, and grants to colleges and universities are $2.5 billion a year.
My blog on a federal computer project that went six times overbudget prompted an expert on information technology (IT) to send me an interesting email. In this study on government failure and this study on cost overruns, I discussed some of the reasons why $100 million projects end up costing $200 million.
One measure of the government’s size is government spending as a share of gross domestic product. The OECD has released new data (Table 25) on this measure for 31 member countries, which I chart here for 2015. The spending includes all levels government: federal, state, and local.
Politics and bureaucratic mismanagement drive up costs and generate failure in the federal government. More evidence comes from a Washington Post report today on a botched computer project at the Department of Homeland Security
The Washington Post today discusses how presidential candidate Donald Trump is dismissing the need for major entitlement reforms. The paper noted, “… leading Republican presidential candidate Donald Trump railed against proposals to end or significantly change Medicare.”