Friday, January 13, 2012

Actually, the Federal Government is Efficient

Mitt Romney thinks we should turn a Federal anti-poverty programs into block grants to the states:
Well, what we don’t need is to have a federal government saying we’re going to solve all the problems of poverty across the entire country, because what it means to be poor in Massachusetts is different than Montana and Mississippi and other places in the country. And that’s why these programs, all these federal programs that are bundled to help people and make sure we have a safety net, need to be brought together and sent back to the states. . . . What unfortunately happens is, with all the multiplicity of federal programs, you have massive overhead with government bureaucrats in Washington administering all these programs. Very little of the money that’s actually needed by those that really need help, those that can’t care for themselves, actually reaches them.
Here are the latest figures on the actual overhead of Federal anti-poverty programs, including both the state and Federal bureaucracies:
In 2010, 96.2 percent of Medicaid spending went for care; 94.6 percent of food stamp spending went for food; and 90.9 percent of housing program dollars went to rental assistance for low-income tenants.
Social Security and Medicare are also very efficient; in fact I would say that Medicare is too efficient, and ought to scrutinize the bills it pays a lot more carefully. Federal job training is very expensive, for reasons I don't really understand, but that seems to be a special case.

Our government is not expensive because it is inefficient or bloated or corrupt -- although of course it has those problems, like all bureaucracies. It is expensive because we ask a lot of it.

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