Day by Day

Thursday, December 02, 2010

Today's Must Read

Transfers by Francis W. Porretto.

The United States operates several transfer programs at the federal level, and many more at the state, county, and municipal levels. Transfer programs, and the bureaucracies that operate them, consume over half of all governmental revenues at this time. Of the $3.6 trillion federal budget for 2011, about $1.8 trillion is consumed by transfer programs.
They who argue for a transfer program usually invoke the mantra of "compassion." it's to "help the poor," or to "feed the elderly," or to help the handicapped," or some such. Sometimes it's to "prepare our children," though what "our children" are being prepared for mostly looks like habituation to dependency in a thoroughly amoral society based on State-mediated theft.
And that's before we get to the question of efficiency. The statistics are unambiguous: governmental transfer programs invariably divert more than half of the money allocated to them to bureaucrats' salaries and operational overhead. In 2001, the most recent year for which I have figures, 72% of the budget of the Department of Health and Human Services went to bureaucrats' salaries and overhead; only 28% of its funds reached its supposed beneficiaries.
The least efficient of the large private charities, the United Way, averages an 85% rate of conversion of inputs to benefits. Only 15% of the funds it collects goes to salaries and overhead.
Must I state plainly that usually, when we refer to a government transfer program's "beneficiaries," we're thinking of the wrong bunch? Is it simply too obvious?
You have to read the rest.

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