Poll

I was curious on what everyone thinks regarding how the government spends money.  Do you believe:

The government spends money efficiently but needs more tax revenue to eliminate the deficit and expand current government programs.
9 (3.6%)
The government spends money poorly and can use some mustachian style efficiency to be more productive with its current revenue.
122 (48.6%)
I don't care what the government does I just want taxes lower
5 (2%)
I don't care what government does I just want taxes raised on the rich
3 (1.2%)
The government can be more efficient but we should also increase revenue
112 (44.6%)

Total Members Voted: 251

Author Topic: Poll: Government Expenses  (Read 4366 times)

EnjoyIt

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Re: Poll: Government Expenses
« Reply #50 on: June 30, 2017, 05:28:52 PM »
Maybe Sol is just sick of arguing with me. lol.

I'm just impressed that so many people don't think we need higher taxes.

DoubleDown, thanks for the very insightful post.

coolistdude

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Re: Poll: Government Expenses
« Reply #51 on: June 30, 2017, 08:14:15 PM »
I've become much less political and less interested in arguing about politics. If you just want to look at the numbers though, you can look at http://www.usdebtclock.org/. The deficit has gone down (including in Obama's term), but is much too large. At the risk of getting stoned, I think the numbers show that the government spends too much, collects too much, and has been irresponsible for decades. I'm not picking on a particular party.
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sokoloff

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Re: Poll: Government Expenses
« Reply #52 on: June 30, 2017, 09:03:25 PM »
Exactly, coolistdude. I think we need (and will see) higher taxes in my working lifetime.

I also believe we need lower general spending.

I support a $600-ish/mo/adult citizen UBI and would happily pay more taxes to see that happen in my lifetime. I'm doubtful though.

libertarian4321

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Re: Poll: Government Expenses
« Reply #53 on: July 02, 2017, 01:38:26 AM »
In 32 years working for the government as a soldier, government employee, and contractor/consultant, I see things every day that would likely make every taxpayer weep at the ridiculousness and inefficiency of the government.

I used to think it was just because the government tended to get the NOT "best and brightest."  But I realize now that isn't the reason for the inefficiency.  They system is just so bureaucratic, inefficient, and generally screwed up, that even the brightest, most dedicated government employee who tries to do a good job will quickly be broken and beaten into submission by the system.  He'll become like every other cubicle drone in the government, just marking his time, doing little more than show up for work, cover his ass, and stay out of trouble until he can get his pension.

I suspect we'll see the second coming of the son of the Flying Spaghetti Monster long before the government ever becomes even moderately efficient.

obstinate

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Re: Poll: Government Expenses
« Reply #54 on: July 02, 2017, 07:55:16 AM »
I work in private industry. Every day I see things that would make our shareholders gnash their teeth. And this in the halls of one of the most valuable companies in the world.

The real issue is the principal-agent problem, not government bureaucracy in particular. And this problem arises immediately when the incentives of who is doing the work and who is benefitting from it/paying for it are not perfectly aligned.

GuitarStv

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Re: Poll: Government Expenses
« Reply #55 on: July 02, 2017, 12:21:39 PM »
I work in private industry. Every day I see things that would make our shareholders gnash their teeth. And this in the halls of one of the most valuable companies in the world.

The real issue is the principal-agent problem, not government bureaucracy in particular. And this problem arises immediately when the incentives of who is doing the work and who is benefitting from it/paying for it are not perfectly aligned.

+1

I have also worked in private industry for well over a decade and agree completely.  It's a mistake to believe that privatization somehow magically fixes inefficiencies.

EnjoyIt

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Re: Poll: Government Expenses
« Reply #56 on: July 02, 2017, 07:39:17 PM »
I work in private industry. Every day I see things that would make our shareholders gnash their teeth. And this in the halls of one of the most valuable companies in the world.

The real issue is the principal-agent problem, not government bureaucracy in particular. And this problem arises immediately when the incentives of who is doing the work and who is benefitting from it/paying for it are not perfectly aligned.

+1

I have also worked in private industry for well over a decade and agree completely.  It's a mistake to believe that privatization somehow magically fixes inefficiencies.

Here is the question: What is more inefficient, a private or a public facility?

obstinate

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Re: Poll: Government Expenses
« Reply #57 on: July 02, 2017, 10:14:46 PM »
Here is the question: What is more inefficient, a private or a public facility?
Depends on what purpose the facility is to serve. Private corps obv better at delivering search engines. Gov't better at preventing ponzi schemes. You've been told as much in other threads, the ACA one especially . . . I don't know why you insist on rehashing this same question over and over again.

EnjoyIt

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Re: Poll: Government Expenses
« Reply #58 on: July 02, 2017, 10:26:09 PM »
Here is the question: What is more inefficient, a private or a public facility?
Depends on what purpose the facility is to serve. Private corps obv better at delivering search engines. Gov't better at preventing ponzi schemes. You've been told as much in other threads, the ACA one especially . . . I don't know why you insist on rehashing this same question over and over again.

I have worked in private and in government hospitals and find the government version grossly inefficient compared to private which has a ton of its own waste.  I also can not argue with you that certain things only government can do such as infrastructure and national defense. I mentioned up above that I would prefer to leave healthcare out of this discussion because that has its own 60+ page thread. Though providing reasonable healthcare to the poor can only be done by charity and government as there is little profit motive for the private sector to provide free health care services. Please, if we can, lets leave healthcare discussions to the other thread.

GuitarStv

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Re: Poll: Government Expenses
« Reply #59 on: July 03, 2017, 04:43:37 AM »
I work in private industry. Every day I see things that would make our shareholders gnash their teeth. And this in the halls of one of the most valuable companies in the world.

The real issue is the principal-agent problem, not government bureaucracy in particular. And this problem arises immediately when the incentives of who is doing the work and who is benefitting from it/paying for it are not perfectly aligned.

+1

I have also worked in private industry for well over a decade and agree completely.  It's a mistake to believe that privatization somehow magically fixes inefficiencies.

Here is the question: What is more inefficient, a private or a public facility?

Are you looking at cost to provide a service, quality of service, direct vs total societal benefits of a service?  What specific service are you asking about?  The metric you use to measure will change the answer you get.  Some things are more efficient when run by the government, some things are less efficient.

EnjoyIt

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Re: Poll: Government Expenses
« Reply #60 on: July 03, 2017, 07:59:42 AM »
I work in private industry. Every day I see things that would make our shareholders gnash their teeth. And this in the halls of one of the most valuable companies in the world.

The real issue is the principal-agent problem, not government bureaucracy in particular. And this problem arises immediately when the incentives of who is doing the work and who is benefitting from it/paying for it are not perfectly aligned.

+1

I have also worked in private industry for well over a decade and agree completely.  It's a mistake to believe that privatization somehow magically fixes inefficiencies.

Here is the question: What is more inefficient, a private or a public facility?

Are you looking at cost to provide a service, quality of service, direct vs total societal benefits of a service?  What specific service are you asking about?  The metric you use to measure will change the answer you get.  Some things are more efficient when run by the government, some things are less efficient.

I think I would say it differently. Just about everything the government does, it does poorly. There are some services only the government could provide and therefor will do better than the private sector.

This is in general terms, that the bigger the industry the more inefficiency it will have. The more layers of management the more inefficiency that department will have.  In those general terms the government is much larger than most private sector industries and therefor on those terms alone will be less efficient. In the private sector when the dollars spent are your own, each expenditure is more thoroughly vetted as compared to spending someone else's money such as taxes.  Then add in the desire to spend every budgeted dollar and I believe you tend to find more inefficiency and waste in the public sector.  Despite all that, there are many services the private sector can't fulfill which becomes the perfect role for our government to step in.

Gondolin

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Re: Poll: Government Expenses
« Reply #61 on: July 03, 2017, 08:21:31 AM »
Quote
Just about everything the government does, it does poorly

Quote
Despite all that, there are many services the private sector can't fulfill which becomes the perfect role for our government to step in.

So... Which is it? At a gut level you reasoning is sound but, this is the rub that ends up derailing these discussions. If the gov't is the only one who can do something, by what metric can you claim that service is provided "poorly". Without a direct comparison every argument becomes "current performance " vs "somebody's headcanon of what good service would look like". Inevitably, views differ and you're right back to the argument about what services the gov't ought to be performing at all.
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shenlong55

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Re: Poll: Government Expenses
« Reply #62 on: July 03, 2017, 08:40:46 AM »
I'm not sure I understand the question. Are you asking what percent of the US population should be employed or are you asking how much minimum wage should be?

I don't have a specific number for either as I have not done the research. But economic cycles will have rates rise and fall based on demand.  So I doubt there is any one number to answer that question.

I can tell you that in many parts of the US a family can sustain a happy lifestyle making $7.50/hr full time x 2 people or $30k/yr. It is what we talk about on this forum, no?  This is baring any major health condition or this is with healthcare subsidies. So, currently with the ACA $30k/yr is plenty outside of major metropolitan areas. If people learned how to be happy without fancy cars and newest cell phones maybe we wouldn't be having this conversation. Unfortunately most of the people in the US are consumerist suckas as we like to put it. So, why do tax payers have to pay for those poor lifestyle decisions?

BTW, currently Walmart is paying an average of $13.38/hr
http://news.walmart.com/news-archive/2016/01/20/more-than-one-million-walmart-associates-receive-pay-increase-in-2016.  A family of 2 working full time will be making almost $55k/yr.  Wow, compared to mustachian standards they are rolling it. They might even be able to save some money for retirement. If they started working there at 18, they have the potential to retire before 45.

I actually meant the percentage of the US population that you think should be employed.  Since you seem to think discouraging work is a horrible idea, I thought you must think that the current percentage is either too low or in danger of becoming too low.  I don't know the current employment rate myself, and don't know what the right percentage is even if I did, so I can't easily jump to the conclusion that discouraging work is a negative.

GuitarStv

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Re: Poll: Government Expenses
« Reply #63 on: July 03, 2017, 08:14:02 PM »
Quote
Just about everything the government does, it does poorly

Quote
Despite all that, there are many services the private sector can't fulfill which becomes the perfect role for our government to step in.

So... Which is it? At a gut level you reasoning is sound but, this is the rub that ends up derailing these discussions. If the gov't is the only one who can do something, by what metric can you claim that service is provided "poorly". Without a direct comparison every argument becomes "current performance " vs "somebody's headcanon of what good service would look like". Inevitably, views differ and you're right back to the argument about what services the gov't ought to be performing at all.

This is kinda the issue with this thread.

Maybe if EnjoyIt could list all the specific areas where he thinks that the government does the job better than private industry and all the specific areas where he thinks that the government is deficient it would help to move the conversation along because we would know what areas he's talking about when referring to inefficiency.

gooki

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Re: Poll: Government Expenses
« Reply #64 on: July 04, 2017, 02:42:45 AM »
I'd like to see central a local governments aim to be self sufficient. I.e. Financially independent from tax revenue.

There's no reason why they can't run a surplus and invest just like we do. The Labor government in NZ started along this path with the "Cullen Fund", unfortunately a change in government canned that idea and did lolly scramble tax cuts instead.
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sokoloff

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Re: Poll: Government Expenses
« Reply #65 on: July 04, 2017, 05:56:36 AM »
I'd like to see central a local governments aim to be self sufficient. I.e. Financially independent from tax revenue.

There's no reason why they can't run a surplus and invest just like we do.
That's an interesting idea, but it would require delayed gratification on the part of the taxpayers. Today's taxpayers would need to pay much higher taxes than the services they get, in order that future taxpayers would be able to get services without paying for them.

Humans have shown time and again a very strong propensity to do exactly the opposite of that (general deficits, the rollout of Social Security, etc).

obstinate

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Re: Poll: Government Expenses
« Reply #66 on: July 04, 2017, 06:15:28 AM »
It would also massively displace private investment. To cover just the us government budget according to the 4% rule, we'd have to have the federal government buy the entire world stock market several times over. This does not include state and local governments. Additionally, it would remove the treasury bond investment vehicle from the market, which a lot of entities currently depend on. This is really not a good idea.