It is a very old story that I have heard repeated many times. It seems that legislators cannot hold a budget hearing or meet with representatives of state and local government agencies without being subjected to a long and nuanced description of the agency’s great financial needs.
Government agencies don’t have to compete for business in the free market. They exist regardless of the quality of service they provide. Unlike the private businessman who knows that he must drive down costs and improve the quality of his product in order to earn more money, the government official mostly earns more money simply by convincing voters and policy makers to give it to him.
Those who are in the arena of public policy are constantly subjected to the raindrop torture of the unending refrain of, “Give us more money, or all types of armageddon-type scenarios will inevitably occur.”
Too many times the weak-minded policy maker quickly acquiesces and accepts the overstated demands at face value. Worse, many times he doesn’t just give in, but actually becomes an advocate for the very bureaucracy for which he is supposed to be the check and balance.
Those policy makers who take their responsibility seriously and don’t accept the claims of the bureaucrats at face value know that many millions of dollars are wasted by government every year.
It seems that significant waste is found almost every time a truly independent authority investigates the actual spending practices of these agencies. In the Government Modernization venue, we have seen this to be the case time and time again. We can’t turn around without running across inappropriate government spending.
The Government Modernization Committee has reviewed numerous consultants’ reports that outline the waste. Unfortunately, government is so large and spending so great that our purview has only reached a small subset of overall spend. Our efforts also frequently run up against the political power of bureaucrats who have worked the system to the point that they can use taxpayer dollars to finance an army of lobbyists who are extremely effective at protecting those bureaucracies from reforms.
Each time the State Auditor releases a performance audit, it seems that he finds these same issues. Just last week, yet another audit exposed very disturbing spending practices. Ultimately, the best way to get a handle on this spending is to take away the fuel that gives it life: your taxpayers dollars!
When Governor Mary Fallin introduces her plan to reduce income taxes in next week’s State of the State address, she will be seeking to return money into the free market where market rules will determine how the money is spent, instead of the bureaucrats and politicians who have proven so adept at wasting your money.
Those who wish to maintain the status quo will once again falsely predict that the sky will fall if government is deprived from sucking up your money. Please know that this action will actually empower those in elective office who are seeking to implement efficiencies.
After all, would it really be a bad thing if those government agencies couldn’t afford to hire their own lobbyists next year?