Why does virtually everything the government does cost more than we’re initially told?
Heck, I narrated an entire video warning that this would happen.
There are probably an infinite number of reasons why government programs wind up being needlessly expensive, but I think most of them fall into these four broad categories.
1. Government is inherently inefficient and wasteful (obvious to anyone who’s ever been stuck in a motor vehicles department).
2. Government doesn’t solve problems, and its failures are used as an excuse to increase budgets (a version of Mitchell’s Law).
3. Bureaucrats who produce cost estimates fail to incorporate behavioral effects (people acting in ways to take advantage of government largesse).
4. Politicians deliberately understate costs in hopes of tricking taxpayers into supporting their schemes (yes, we’re shocked that they lie).
These are some of the thoughts that went through my mind when I looked at this chart on estimated disability expenditures over time. As you can see, the government routinely underestimates the cost of the programs.
It goes without saying, of course, that the 2010 projection will be wildly inaccurate. The disability rolls have exploded during the Obama years.
But at least we’re not Greece, where you can actually get disability handouts for being a pedophile. In the United States, you have to do something far less offensive (like being a 30-year old who likes wearing diapers) to scam the program.