Failure is all around us. Most of us will have to change jobs as companies fail. We might change careers, but we move on. Government agencies, on the other hand, are notoriously slow to learn.
Does Government Ever Fail?
Unfortunately, government fails at the very things we care about. Not only that, but government doesn’t clean up its mess. The future will belong to the country that overcomes its failures rather than letting them accumulate for generations.
But if it Weren’t for Government, Who Would Build Roads?
We want government to regulate or build roads, airports and ports. We want a few efficient regulations for efficient commerce and travel. We’d like a justice system where we can quickly and cheaply resolve disputes. We’d like fair elections. These are the fundamentals, and government does a poor job of them. That doesn’t stop politicians from promising to do more…like healthcare.
What Does Government Do Well?
In fact, Government does what it wants to do, rather than what we want it to.
We shouldn’t be surprised when politicians and bureaucrats do what is best for politicians and bureaucrats. The public good comes later…if it is considered at all.
What Does Government Want to Do?
Government wants to start billion dollar programs that will produce millions of dollars in lobbying and campaign contributions, as well as votes. Providing services at low costs? Not really in the politicians’ interests.
What Happens to Our Mistakes?
Government failures accumulate. For instances, from the perspective of the Detroit politicians, private sector jobs leaving Detroit was not necessarily a problem. For the politicians, the real problem with Detroit’s failure was that the government sector workers no longer had clients. Unionized government workers pay kickbacks (campaign donations) to the politicians. Who was left to pay the government debts, the accumulated political promises, now that the taxpayers had lost their jobs and moved away? Judges ruled that retirement and benefits are due to government employees even when there is no longer a public to pay for them. The judge didn’t explain where the money would come from.
Yes, some employees are more equal than others.
Did That Solve the Long Term Incentives to over-promise and under-tax?
We never fixed the incentives for politicians to promise more than taxpayers can pay. That doesn’t mean that politicians didn’t learn from Detroit’s failure. Unfortunately, the politicians learned the wrong thing.
What Did the Politicians Take Away from Detroit’s Failure?
Other cities and states took powerful lessons from the political failure in Detroit. We’ve seen cities like Baltimore and Chicago lose their middle class. States like California and New Jersey did the same thing. Detroit lost most of its population and politicians lost power as “voters” left. A failing city can run out of money and go into debt. What it cannot do is run out of residents. Residents, even poor ones, bring in money for politicians.
Once politicians have crushed industry and middle-class jobs, then today’s politicians import poor people who will live on welfare. We now have other blue cities and blue states importing illegal aliens so they don’t turn into Detroit. That keeps the government schools and government welfare offices open. That, in turn, keeps the political contributions flowing from government unions. A corrupt judge ruled that illegal immigrants should even count toward the US census. That census then determines congressional districts.
The private sector jobs are gone, but the government offices remain full. That situation works for Socialist politicians. Do you notice a pattern yet? There are vast flows of political contributions to keep this broken system in place. They favor the politicians and tax consumers at the expense of taxpayers.
The solutions are as economically obvious as they are politically difficult.
• Eliminate public pensions and move government employees into private retirement plans with defined contributions. That stops the slavery of future generations having to pay for past political promises.
• Allow the voters to declare bankruptcy and eliminate the present debts of past political promises.
• Stop counting illegal immigrants in the US census that determines political districts. Make the politicians work for us rather than letting the politicians select the voters they want.
• Eliminate the tax-deductibility of wages and benefits paid to illegal immigrants…just like they do in Mexico.
• Eliminate welfare payments for illegal immigrants…just like they do in Mexico.
• Eliminate chain migration…just like they do in Mexico.
• Use the referendum process to force change if the politicians won’t solve our problems. That could work as long as judge don’t overturn the referendum.
These reforms face an uphill battle as the entrenched interests support the status quo. Today’s government-union-executives, and their pension fund managers, have millions of dollars to spend in opposition. We need informed voters. That is a lot to ask in the days of 144-character news. Unfortunately, I don’t see another way to clean up our problems rather than leave them for the next generation.
Image: Excerpted from: CC by SA-2.0; https://www.flickr.com/photos/shan213/10168029133