Someone Else’s Money

One of the many reasons for government inefficiency and waste can be found in the source of funding. Be it through taxation (i.e. theft), borrowing (i.e. future taxation/theft), or monetary expansion (i.e. theft through devaluation), all government programs are funded through use of someone else’s money. As a result, little regard is paid for need, effectiveness, efficiency, or return on investment of any government led undertaking.

In Toronto, a city park received a bid to build a set of steps for between $65,000 and $150,000. When a local resident spent $550 and built them himself, the city paid to have his steps removed. While Mr. Astl’s efforts may have resulted in an inferior solution, he certainly proved the exorbitance of the estimates offered by the city.

In New York, John Stossel shows a bathroom built by the city for a price of two million dollars. When Mr. Stossel questions city officials, they assure him that this price is reasonable. Perhaps just as egregious is the length of time needed to build such a facility in the city: years rather than months.

Finally, it would be difficult to measure the amount of waste directed by Congress toward the U.S. military. Many stories abound of appropriations for weapons systems and equipment which are neither called for nor used by the military. While a nation $20 trillion in debt might make better decisions, the choices that concern other people’s money are easy to make, particularly since repercussions are few and far between.

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