Wednesday, November 1, 2023

Sounds like a good idea to me


John Stossel opines:

This week Republicans and Democrats got together to avert a government shutdown.

Too bad.

There’s so much that ought to be shut down.

Useless Cabinet departments, for example, like Housing and Urban Development, Labor and Agriculture. Agriculture employs almost 100,000 people. Why? Independent farmers grow our food. They don’t need a giant department.

Let’s get rid of the Department of Education, too. Why does it even exist? Education is a local responsibility and none of the federal government’s business. Yet its spending is up 300% over the last 10 years.

The department didn’t even exist before 1979. Has education improved since then? No. Government’s grand plans, like No Child Left Behind and Common Core, helped no one but bureaucrats.

Trying to justify itself, the department funded studies of everyone’s favorite government program, Head Start. The “experts” were surprised to learn that the much-praised program has no effect. By third grade, there was no difference between kids that attend and those who don’t.

Education is best left to local governments and parents.

There's more at the link, a long list of government departments and agencies that contribute nothing of importance to our nation.  Recommended reading.

I wish more politicians had the spine to apply a cost-benefit analysis to every organ of government.  What does it cost, and what is it delivering in terms of real benefit to the nation?  The problem is, they're applying a different benefit consideration.  Too many politicians want to know, "What benefit is there to/for me?" when it comes to establishing or maintaining a government service.  Benefits to the politician include the publicity value of having his/her name attached to something highly visible;  the votes of the public servants who benefit from the jobs thus created or maintained;  and the bribes "campaign contributions" offered by corporations and other agents for providing them with something they need or want, irrespective of its value to the country.

A quintessential example is the massive subsidy granted - I should say rubber-stamped - each year to the agricultural industry, for producing corn that's converted to ethanol to add to our fuel supply.  It's completely unnecessary, and offers no advantage over simply using pure gasoline - indeed, it's widely known to damage small engines such as lawnmowers, chainsaws, generators, etc.  The only reason the program exists is that "Big Ag" lobbied for it, pushed it through Congress, and ensures its continuance through ongoing contributions to support politicians who vote for it every year.  We'd save billions as a nation by discontinuing it, but those currently benefiting from it would lose those billions, so they make sure to protect themselves by lobbying and subsidizing their tame representatives and senators.

I reckon at least a quarter of the federal budget, if not a third, could be cut simply by eliminating the agencies, departments and funding responsible for such non-essential, wasteful expenditures.  It'll never happen, of course - not without the wholesale elimination of the entire, fundamentally corrupt chain of influence devoted to maintaining them.



Alphone the Wonder Commenter said...

"I reckon at least a quarter of the federal budget, if not a third, could be cut simply by eliminating the agencies, departments and funding responsible for such non-essential, wasteful expenditures."

If you'd spent several years in D.C. dealing with federal agencies, you'd realize the actual figure is a lot closer to 3/4, and more likely, 7/8.

Anonymous said...

I would think most Federal Agencies could be eliminated. It is clear with Congress and their "need" for having committees and subcommittees that they do not want to eliminate Agencies. Without agencies a majority of debt is eliminated if we end foreign aid and cut money to the UN to $1 per year.

Steve said...

We have to start somewhere.....Lots of great suggestions BUT, too many pet projects in that list.
BUT we have to start lets start with the Dept. of Education. Really, what has it done for the "goodness of the community"? Nothing in my estimation. All I've seen is falling test scores and pandering to crazed men in drag.
So lets at least demolish one agency and then next year move on to the next one.

Anonymous said...

The ag. subsidies for ethanol are particularly annoying, I say this as someone trying to establish a small, independent, diverse farm; but also as someone aware of the hypocrisy going on. If the US was actually serious about addressing food security, environmental degradation, supporting small business, and the ever popular 'Hot/Wet/Cold/Dry', the ethanol subsidies would be ditched and far more support given to the much, much smaller funding blocks that support more effective food production, riparian/wetland stabilization, and many other things.
But, we aren't actually serious about those things, we are serious about funneling money to appropriate donors.

Anonymous said...

Many people don't realize that over 3/4 of government is spending is so called "mandatory" spending, required by law - welfare, food stamps, etc.
Of the remaining 1/4, about half is military and about half the executive branch. The past talk about "major cuts" was entirely focused on the executive branch.

Without cutting "mandatory spending", we can't make any real headway - and too many people have their hand in the till for that to happen.

Anonymous said...

Before we started supporting the Ukrainians, foreign aid was at about $50 billion a year.

The US government's budget was over three trillion dollars.

Rob said...

The word "education" (like in The Department of Education") is not in The Constitution.

GuardDuck said...

Anon @ 0841:

"3/4 of government is spending is so called "mandatory" spending"

But an easy 1/2 of every dollar funneled through each agency on it's way to the recipient is wasted by gov't corruption, waste, excess bureaucracy, etc.

MN Steel said...

Assuming $100K average including bennies for 2.25 million federal workers, that is $225 Billion.

That leaves military and reserves "employed" at the same time, but you can effectively halve the cost because they don't get paid shit.

Even dropping 90% of "civil service" jobs would be $200 Billion in perpetuity.

Even a backwoods retard like me can run numbers based on goggle queries.

RSR said...

Using foodstuffs for ethanol is morally reprehensible as well -- it increases food costs for everyone (whether grain or meat) and in particular decreases food availability accessibility for 2nd/3rd world, directly contributing to violence, war, and famine... The Arab Spring during the Obama years had a lot to do w/ food prices for instances, and a lot of conflict throughout the world to this day has to do with folks being hungry and unable to feed their families.

When explained in this manner (regardless of IMO objectionable taxpayer subsidies), most Christians and farmers tend to get it... while others show their true colors of entitlement and greed. Somewhat similar to how explaining that EVs do more damage to the earth than combustion engines and poison those making their batteries.

Anonymous said...

RE: How much more evidence do they need to impeach Biden.

Peter writes. 'I wish more politicians had the spine ....'
They won't because they are equally corrupt.

As when Hillary infamously uttered, 'If I go down, I'm taking half of Washington with me!'
She didn't because they wouldn't. They wouldn't because they are equally corrupt.

I wish The People (1st named institution in the U.S. Constitution, superior to all other institutions so named) would grow a spine.
Leaders will appear but first there must be decisive action.

SL said...

90% cut. If it's not in the Constitution it's not "mandatory". Period.