We constantly joke about government waste in America as if it is something to be laughed at. Honestly, it’s hard not to. The level of incompetence routinely reached by government agencies attempting to accomplish a task is often laughable. We even have jokes about it that have permeated our culture, the observation that it takes five road workers to dig a ditch – one to dig and four to supervise. There have been many lists written about government waste. Here are just five of my favorite examples of the waste:
The federal government made at least $72 billion in improper payments in 2008.
Washington spends $25 billion annually maintaining unused or vacant federal properties.
A Department of Agriculture report concedes that much of the $2.5 billion in “stimulus” funding for broadband Internet will be wasted.
The Defense Department wasted $100 million on unused flight tickets and never bothered to collect refunds even though the tickets were refundable.
The Securities and Exchange Commission spent $3.9 million rearranging desks and offices at its Washington, D.C., headquarters.
But the best example of government waste has to be the Obamacare rollout debacle. The federal government spent more the $500 million getting the Obamacare website up and running in what is supposed to be the keystone for the entire program. If the website doesn’t work, then Obamacare won’t work – because people will not sign up. You would think that spending more than half a billion dollars would mean that you were making sure the product was good. You would think that because of the importance of the website there would be constant supervision to ensure the product was good. But no. Instead the government wasted half a billion dollars, and now people won’t sign up because the program is incredibly flawed.
I wish there would have been a cheaper and easier solution.
Oh wait… there was.
Meet the three twenty year old dudes who built a WORKING Obamacare website in a matter of days for free. (Yes, that was FOR FREE.)
This just reminds us of the difference between public and private. Private organizations have a built in incentive for profit that drives them to be efficient and effective. They have to be good to make money. Public interests have no profit motive, and hence no motive for neither efficiency nor effectiveness. No-bid contracting makes things even worse, because while a profit exists (for the contractor), they have no need to please their customer. The work of cronyism steps in here and the company is assured repeated business because of corruption, not matter how hard they suck.
There is a reason that the generalization that “public works are not as good as private works” exists. Private enterprise can accomplish greater feats in less time and at a reduced cost than public enterprise can. Public enterprise will almost always be slower, shoddier and more expensive because there is no incentive for the work to be anything better than the bare minimum. It’s the way things have worked since the dawn of public works…ain’t no reason for change now.
If we really care about American healthcare we should be doing all we can to keep the government out of the way.
The views expressed in this opinion article are solely those of their author and are not necessarily either shared or endorsed by EagleRising.com