Monday, December 8, 2008

Bill Kristol Gets it Right

Kristol is on message today, making the case that "small government conservatism" is less politically popular than it once was, and it may never have been an actual force within the Republican Party. The American Public isn't much interested in "small" is interested in "effective government" in which they feel they are getting value for their tax dollars. The key graph in this story:

"So talk of small government may be music to conservative ears, but it’s not to the public as a whole. This isn’t to say the public is fond of big-government liberalism. It’s just that what’s politically vulnerable about big-government liberalism is more the liberalism than the big government. (Besides, the public knows that government’s not going to shrink much no matter who’s in power.)"


Doc Milnamo said...

Effective government yes. And efficient!

Mudge said...

Effective and efficient. I think we have some effective federal agencies. I like to believe the DoD is effective. It is horribly inefficient though, in my experience and opinion. I know of a few programs within DoD that might be considered both effective and efficient but by and large, again my experience, is that the ones who make themselves most efficient are also the ones who end up being cannibalized to fix the horribly inefficient ones. As for other agencies, I can think of few that I would assess as across the board effective and none at all that I would call efficient. One of my favorites is Dept of Education. Kill it. Yesterday. The reason I want a smaller government is because I believe that conservatively 30% of government employees perform at levels substantially substandard to their pay levels. I'd estimate that about 50% put in an average work performance during not one second more than (and frequently a couple hours less than) a full work day. Fortunately, there is a relative handful who work their tails off to essentially carry the workload of 2 or 3 workers. Still, the math doesn't add up. We citizens who pay our taxes are getting a pretty unimpressive return on our investment when our money goes to the federal government. I liken it to the overhead costs of the various charities in the combined federal campaing or united way. typically, most of the charities run at somewhere below 20% operating costs so the assumption is that for every dollar you donate to achieve some improvement in your society, you get about 80 cents of impact. Just a shame we citizens (again, the taxpaying kind) can't get a similar cost assessment of our federal agencies. I suspect for every dollar we give (surrender) to the federal government results in somewhere around 10 to 15 cents of impact. On a good day. In an effective agency. That's why I want to see smaller government. It can be equally ineffective at much smaller size but at least it won't cost as much. As one of my shipmates once said when I was looking at an abortion of a job on my missile launchers' ablative coating that a contractor had applied for the cost of around $80K: "Hell, give me the contract. I can f--- it up for half that price."

Newer Post Older Post Home