Archive for June 21st, 2013

The American people are very astute. I reported a couple of years ago that nearly two-thirds of voters identified the federal government as the greatest threat to the country’s future.

They’re right, and it’s also very scary, as illustrated by this Glenn McCoy cartoon.

McCoy Monster Cartoon

With frightening legislation such as Obamacare, tax hikes, and Dodd-Frank, no wonder about two out of three people have a very or somewhat negative view of Washington.

McCoy does very good work. He has a great pair of cartoons on condoms and gay marriage, and I also like his cartoon on sequester hysteria, as well as how he portrayed gullible voters being bribed with their own money. In my opinion, though, his cartoon on media bias is the best of the bunch.

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Why does virtually everything the government does cost more than we’re initially told?

In 2009, for instance, I warned that Obamacare would be much more costly than advertised, so I certainly wasn’t surprised several years later when the numbers began to climb.

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.

SSDI Projections

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.

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