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Old 02-26-2004, 07:19 AM   #1 (permalink)
Junkie
 
Location: NJ
Does the US government spend money efficiently?

This is really a two part discussion and it's not necessarily about one party or the other as both have been in power at various times and both have contributed to the current state of affairs.


Part I

With all the talk about the budget deficit and tax cuts, I have to ask. How many people believe the government as it exists now and will likely exist on into the next decade, does a good job of putting money where it needs to be and doing so efficiently (i.e., with as little waste as possible)?

My impressions, formed throughout many years of academic, professional, and private discussions, are that most agree that the government does a poor job of weeding out ineffective programs and/or eliminating waste. Do you think these impressions are true? Or, is there a large group of people out there who think, overall, the federal government is pretty good about budgeting and spending?


Part II

If, in fact, the government is lacking in budgeting/spending abilities what will change the current state?

IMO, giving it more money in the form of increased taxes, will only prolong the inefficiency.

How will the government ever be forced to more effectively allocate resources if it can continue to either deficit spend or raise taxes to cover their inefficiency?


I don't believe there is much disagreement in Part I, but am certainly open to the possibility. I suspect that somewhere between Part I and Part II there is a break in thinking between the two "sides". This post is meant to try to get productive discussions going that may allow us to look at other viewpoints without the partisan rhetoric.
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Old 02-26-2004, 08:30 AM   #2 (permalink)
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Re: Does the US government spend money efficiently?

Quote:
Originally posted by onetime2
How will the government ever be forced to more effectively allocate resources if it can continue to either deficit spend or raise taxes to cover their inefficiency?
By theory is that by 2030, baring some major world events, the US will be 100% socialist. Great decline in the global economy will follow and the worlds socialist governments will fail with them. Fascist, communist, and other radicals will start causing the usual trouble. Sometime between 2050 and 2070 there will be a mini-revolution in the US kicking the socialists out.

Short answer, they can only be forced at gunpoint. Right now cutting pork gets you nothing, while bringing pork to your district gets you re-elected.
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Old 02-26-2004, 08:32 AM   #3 (permalink)
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Part I:

The government is horrible at spending money. I don't feel the need to go into a long explanation, as a person who goes looking for examples will find them.

Part II:
The question you ask is hard to answer. The simple response would be to limit the government's power to defecit spend or raise taxes. The tougher, more appropriate response would be to have younger, more progressive people running for office, people that are firm in their beliefs, that can think critically, that are willing to keep an open mind. Unfortunately, the second part of this tougher answer is to have a majority of the people vote these progressives into office.

I want so very much to see better officials elected. Sadly, I don't think that they're running.
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Old 02-26-2004, 08:35 AM   #4 (permalink)
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Location: NJ
Re: Re: Does the US government spend money efficiently?

Quote:
Originally posted by Ustwo
By theory is that by 2030, baring some major world events, the US will be 100% socialist. Great decline in the global economy will follow and the worlds socialist governments will fail with them. Fascist, communist, and other radicals will start causing the usual trouble. Sometime between 2050 and 2070 there will be a mini-revolution in the US kicking the socialists out.

Short answer, they can only be forced at gunpoint. Right now cutting pork gets you nothing, while bringing pork to your district gets you re-elected.
I agree that they won't go willingly but there is the chance of change as some people are willing to talk about the need for change. As outlined by Greenspan yesterday who suggested that tax cuts should become permanent and that any further tax cut or spending increase be tied to the cutting of another program.
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Old 02-26-2004, 08:42 AM   #5 (permalink)
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He also said the SS needs to be cut (VERY true) and the Democrats already had a hissy fit. Likewise the Republicans won't be as vocal but won't lift a finger either. 77 million voting baby boomers will see to that.
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Old 02-26-2004, 11:03 AM   #6 (permalink)
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Location: NJ
Quote:
Originally posted by Ustwo
He also said the SS needs to be cut (VERY true) and the Democrats already had a hissy fit. Likewise the Republicans won't be as vocal but won't lift a finger either. 77 million voting baby boomers will see to that.
Yep, no one will touch Social Security in the near term. If they do it at all they will give like 10 years notice (and rightfully so as people need to adjust their retirement contributions).
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Old 02-26-2004, 07:42 PM   #7 (permalink)
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I'm not really a SS supporter, but 77 million votes should count for something.

I have a question inspired by this thread. Can anyone explain to me why the President of the US does not have a line item veto with which he/she could excise pork projects. One the one hand the Pres would have to take the heat for killing projects, on the other they could also take credit. At the very least it seems like it would raise the awareness of this largesse.
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Old 02-26-2004, 08:58 PM   #8 (permalink)
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Quote:
Originally posted by ubertuber
Can anyone explain to me why the President of the US does not have a line item veto with which he/she could excise pork projects.
Legally, because the Constitution does not grant him this power. I believe that the Supreme Court said something to this effect several years ago.

In practice, a line-item veto would prevent parties from reaching compromise in the drafting of legislation, because the president could take away all the concessions made to the opposing party during the drafting of legislation. It would give the president too much power over congress.

It would be nice if there were such a simple problem to the pork problem, but line-item veto invites as much trouble as it solves.
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