Saturday, April 14, 2012

My Simple Prescription for US Bureaucratic Bloat - in One Paragraph!

14 April 2012

As I'm busy these days, I've been posting links to great articles, and adding my comments.

Paul Kasriel has just published a very simple economic graph:

The US federal deficit remains high because tax receipts are down and expenditures are static (that is, little growth, but little corresponding structural reform).

My proposed fix is this simple:

(1) Trim the bureaucracies that determine who pays and who receives federal funds (they are massive and grow like Topsy).

(2) Simplify receipts with a flat tax (goodbye IRS, you can let 90% or more of the staff and all of the exemptions go).

(3) Simplify expenditures with simple universal social/health programs and with good quality infrastructure initiatives with almost no bureaucrats - healthcare for all, support for the participation (and employment) of citizens with disabilities, good highways & bridges, marketable multiple sources of energy (from conventional to biodiesel to space-based solar to acoustic fusion), accessible high quality education and (yes) expanded fundamental scientific research, including molecular biology, robotics and space exploration (a big "boo" to Mitt Romney on that one)....

(4) Retrain the bureaucrats with productive skills, starting with growing gardens and flipping veggie burgers!

That's it. All better.


  1. The finances of state and local goverments are a basket case. These local governments will soon be forced to begin selling of assets. Most likly their prime real estate assets to raise the money needed to fund their underfunded or should I say unfunded pension and healthcare plans for retired and current employees. Many states are now being forced to cut neccessary services even vital services.

  2. We are agreed again. No nation can afford ever-expanding bureaucracy. It is a non-productive activity that drains economic resources and inhibits productivity. Even when I talk with police officers, all I hear discussed is the unending paperwork requirement! I do believe that austerity will force us back to basics against our will, and that will ultimately be healthy!

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  4. Government has expanded at state federal and local levels. The solution is to freeze spending at current levels' that is freeze spending without any inflation adjustments for a few years. That way budgets will be trimmed not slashed in so doing it is a kinder gentler way of going about it.

  5. Hi Greatest!

    Actually, both our ideas could probably work. Governments could freeze spending, while preferentially trimming bureaucracy and retraining bureaucrats. To be honest, most of us who have had dealings with bureaucrats live in fear that they would (or could) ever hold any other kind of job. Some real thought would have to go into a complete redirection in efforts, as the skills bureaucrats learn are counterproductive in any setting I can think of, apart from possibly serving as prison guards (but they might create real discontent in a prison system, too!). How would a bureaucrat even grow a garden? And I would certainly never want a customer service representative who had a bureaucratic background! It's a bit of a puzzle, for sure!