Hogan's Alley

Wednesday, September 14, 2005

The Costs of Government Rise, The Number of People Shrinks

As Andrew Sullivan points out, the size of the budget and the national debt have risen. The crucial point for me is that in spite of this enormous spending, most of it is in the form of direct grants or grants to the states. The number of employees at the state and local level has been climbing at an extraordinary rate, while the size of the Federal government has shrunk, as noted at my post below.

We may be spending vastly more money, but I think that we may have now reached a point where the essential functions cannot be carried out by the shrunken workforce. On the civilian side we see failures of security and emergency response. On the military side, our forces can't subdue and control the situation in Iraq. Where is the ground swell for growing the size of our forces in a post Cold War world? They barely exist. Is Rumsfeld trying to make do with an inadequate force because he just enjoys the challenge, or is he trying to do the best he can with inadequate resources?

Politicians like DeLay take great pride in "cutting" bureaucracy and reduced Defense spending, but spend like drunken sailors in projects that they can show as pouring fortunes into their constituencies. Policy in our republic is determined by re-election concerns at all levels, not by concepts of rational planning and management.