Randall, from CreditWithdrawal, a member of my blogroll that I read often, recently posted a list that he saw on the somewhat popular game show, Family Feud. The question was How do you want your tax money spent? You can read Randall’s comments here. My comments differ from his a little.
#5 Highways and Streets
I think that highways and streets are a relatively good use of tax money, however I would like to see the money go to the states and counties in the form of block grants. In fact, now that our interstate system is in place, all roads should fall under the purview of state and local government. There is more accountablility at that level.
#4 Poor and Needy
Did you know that the Department of Health and Human Services spent more than the Department of Defense? Yet we still have plenty of poor people. . . Randall thinks this is a great use of our tax money and believes that government programs focused on the poor are successful. If only that were true. Our welfare and entitlement system is a huge bureaucracy, filled with waste and does very little to help the poor. Approximately $.28 of every dollar spent on welfare actually reaches someone in poverty. Even the worst charities do a better job than that. Private charities actually do a far better job with greater efficiency and truly help those in need with less money. Governmental policies tend to encourage greater dependence on the government. In fact, some policies actually make it advantageous for single mothers to have children out of wedlock. If the government is involved in programs for the poor at all, it should be local governments that decide how the money is spent.
I don’t understand why Americans assume that the federal government is the Great Problem Solver. We throw our money to Washington D.C. and expect it to come back and help out our neighbor. Great plan.
So, the same government that has bankrupted social security should be put in charge of my health. . . makes sense! Don’t let anyone tell you otherwise – the US has the best healthcare in the world. Our health care system is not perfect, but national healthcare is a disaster. Healthcare does not get any cheaper if we pay the government to take care of us. Furthermore, since our our healthcare system is market driven, it is creative and innovative, we are on the cutting edge of research and development. Universal health care might work to a certain extent in countries like England and France, but only on the backs of drugs and surgical techniques that were developed in countries dominated by free market healthcare. Randall seems to think that Cuba’s healthcare system is superior to that of the US . . . If our system was so bad , why aren’t Americans flying to Cuba to have heart transplants or brain surgery? What was the last miracle drug or cure developed in Castro’s paradise? There are certainly problems with our system, but putting Congress in charge of which doctor I can see cannot be the answer.
#2 My Pocket
This is where our taxes belong. Tax cuts actually increase revenue for the federal government. The tax cuts of the 1980’s resulted in economic growth, just as the tax cut of 2001 grew the economy after the Dot Com recession and the September 11th attacks and even kept the economy strong through hurricane Katrina. None of these events managed to throw our economy off track. Randall believes that our taxes should be used to pay our deficit. What, so we bail out our government so that they can spend even more?
Randall claims that education gets the shaft in our country. I disagree, we spend more per student than any country in the world and the No Child Left Behind Act of 2001 increased spending for education over 40%! Yet there seems to be no discernable improvement in the effectiveness of our education system. Our literacy rates are abysmal, but we are told, “more money, more money, then we will get the job done!” Our country spends over $10,000 per student per year. I have worked in private schools that teach kids to read, write, and think for a third the cost. Why do parents, parents who are already paying for government education, decide to pay for their children to attend a private school?Throwing more money at government education is not the problem. D.C. does not know what is best for the children of my little town. Schools should be funded and administered locally.
I do believe that we should pay taxes. I pay what I owe every year, however, I regret that the majority of it will be wasted. I am certainly in favor of a flat tax or in removing the income tax and instituting a national sales tax.
So on what do I think federal taxes should be spent? Here are my top five:
- Defense – the number one priority of the federal government.
- Civil defense – protection of the general public.
- Government itself – the salaries of government officials.
- I can’t think of anything else. . .
- Hmmm. . .
Why can’t the federal government reduce debt the same way I do: limiting spending and increasing revenue?
What are your top five priorities for federal government spending?