Some of you might just take that as gospel fact without me even saying it, but I think some people don’t really think about how much it actually costs to operate government. I’m not going to get into numbers, because I hate them, so I’m going to just stick to concepts here. Let’s start off with an example from my own personal experience.
When I was in the Navy I was stationed on the USS San Jacinto (CG-56). Every division got a budget for the year for office supplies—pens, paper, chairs, whatever we needed. Well, towards the end of the fiscal year we discovered that we had not spent about $800 of our supply budget. If you don’t know how that all works, you either spend the money or give it back. It doesn’t accrue after the fiscal year.
Well, what do you think happens if you give back $800 (mind you, we wanted for nothing and still had that surplus)? For the next fiscal year your budget will be $800 smaller. So what did we do? We got Leatherman knives for each of us.
You might think that counts as waste, fraud, and abuse, but think about it: we’re on a ship, and on a ship everyone is expected to have a certain level of competency in seamanship. Any one of us could have been called to help out on a Replenishment at Sea (RAS), or sea and anchor detail. And we all had to perform various maintenance tasks. So although we didn’t really need the Leathermans, their purchase was justifiable, albeit in a roundabout way.
That’s how government operates.
Government will never operate more efficiently just because we tell the people to do so. If the Supply Officer had just told us, “you’re getting $800 less a year,” we would have dealt with it and been just fine. Now if one year we ended up needing that $800 for something important, we would likely have been able to recover some of it. But until that point, we could have operated efficiently without that extra $800.
You can bet that government agencies operate in the same way. They’re given a budget, and they will always, always spend at least that much so as not to lose the funding for the following year.
It’s kind of like Brewester’s Millions, as mentioned yesterday by Silverfiddle over at Western Hero: spend all your money, even if it’s on ridiculous things, or you get none (way less) back. When you think about spending at the agency level, doesn’t it seem kind of stupid to get angry at politicians who want to make budget cuts?
|"If you don't like it then you can go fuck yourself."|
Of course my personal example doesn’t explain the entirety of the issue we’re in, but I think it helps to at least explicate the inefficiency aspect of it. Here in
, Governor Kasich, for whom I voted, is growing unpopular because of his budget cuts. But he understands that these are cuts that need to be made, because these government agencies can operate fully and efficiently on less. We just have to make them do it. I know that there’s a lot of talk about entitlement cuts, but shouldn’t everyone learn that they have to be more efficient with the money they’re given? Ohio
When you take into consideration that welfare recipients get more than they need to be comfortable, it kind of makes you scratch your head when people get upset about cutting welfare benefits. When I worked at the Godman Guild, I worked with at-risk youth, most of whom lived in inner-city
. One of the stipulations for them to be in our program was that their family had to be on some type of government assistance whether it was food stamps, the income thing, or whatever. Columbus
Unless you visited their homes, you would never know that they were poor, because you had never seen so many god damned spotless pairs of
, or so many pristine pairs of Sean-John jeans in your life. The clothing of these poor kids (poor in terms of socioeconomic status) was more expensive than mine. I don’t know about you, but I find that fairly fucking infuriating. And in case you think they might have purchased their clothes at a thrift store, those Jordans usually still had the tags on them (eye roll). Jordans
|Comin' again to save the mother fucking day yeah!|
Harrison over at Capital Commentary wrote an excellent piece yesterday about the wasteful habits of Americans. I think he was spot on, and wastefulness has infected not just our middle-class and upper-class citizens, but our government and even our poor.
A country in which even it’s poor people can afford to be wasteful is one that seriously needs to take a long hard look at the principles behind its money-spending habits.