Saturday, December 30, 2006

Gubmint, is incombetnt....

Anyone who has dealt with the tax adverse free riders riding the Internet bus knows their rants. Lateley Eli has been pointing out home truths over at Volokh,

Data shows that it takes about 33-40% of total income for government expenditures to maintain a first world country excluding health care. In some countries health care is paid out of taxes, and in others it is, well...In any case health care costs about 10-14% additional. When you add health care costs to the US total government expenditures you get about 46%. Now you can rant about this and that but taxes are the admission fee to civilization. You could also move to Somalia, taxes are lower there, and you won't have very long to worry about your car.
Got the usual rant backs to which the response was
I am sure that everyone here could chop that in half, and it would be at least as successful as the Iraq war. In other words, if you have a remarkably consistent level of expenditure across a large number of different societies with different traditions, and you think they are all fools, maybe your plan is not so good.
So now we come to the second string on the two string fiddle, that whatever the government touches turns to regulations, four pounds thereof. Cactus at Angry Bear (Brad DeLong with attitude) writes
The Government, the Private Sector, Chocolate Chip Cookies, and a Flag-Waving Member of the Local Chapter of Kiwanis - an Anecdote
From the first paragraph
And the guy said with a smirk (and I do remember that), something like this: "This is the US Army's specs on a chocolate chip cookie. But my company sells more cookies every day than the Army eats. And we don't have no stinking manual like that. We have a recipe. And we do just fine. See how inefficient the gubmint is! Bad gubmint! Bad gubmint!"
to the last, a bunch of truth
So the process continues. Eventually, the Army has a spec that indicates even situations that a rational person would say "This makes no sense. Everyone knows that." But the rational person wouldn't realize that when the Army specifies that no sawdust is to be used in making flour, or that no more than X parts of per million of rat droppings will be in the cookie, that the Army has a damn good reason for having that in there, namely that some upstanding leader of the community who waves a flag and is a member of the local Kiwanis actually tried to pass such things off on American military personnel. And of course, that upstanding leader of the community who waves a flag and is a member of the local Kiwanis is happy to lecture one and all about how much more efficient the private sector is than the public sector 'exhibit A' being the Army's specs on making a chocolate chip cookie.
So, the next time SomeBird waves an EPA regulation at you, tell them why it weighs 25 kilo.

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