Many Americans wonder how government spending got this far out of control that taxpayers are now shouldering vast entitlement benefits while also having to service a gigantic debt.
This brief, but insightful, video by the Institute for Humane Studies explains why governments are prone to spend more taxpayer money than is socially desirable.
Voters are rationally ignorant on most policies because they implicitly know that their vote has nearly zero chance of affecting the ballot outcome and the costs of most policies are so widely dispersed that organizing action to oppose or promote policy simply doesn’t pay.
Special interest groups on the other hand tend to be very knowledgeable on the issues that directly impact them and they are willing and able to organize financial resources and other support on issues they seek to affect.
To illustate with an example: If the government took only 5 cents from every US resident and gave it to Bob, Bob would end up $15 million richer! Naturally Bob is willing to exert much more effort to secure this wealth transfer than individual citizens are willing to exert to defend against the injustice.
The only way to effectively address the issue is to get the government out of the business of transfering wealth from one group of citizens to another.