I am second to none in my admiration for Greta van Susteren and her nightly show, but last night Greta said something that demands rebuttal
It was in a segment on the “Wastebook”—Oklahoma Senator Tom Coburn’s yearly compendium of outrageous ways Congress wastes our money. Van Susteren said that stupid projects that are funded to the tune of $2 billion are particularly unconscionable in light of the good uses to which the money could be applied. She cited education.
But underfunding is not what holds American education back. There is often an inverse relation or no correlation between academic performance and increasing spending on education.
High-spending New York, for example, has a woefully underperforming public school system. Nor are teachers by and large underpaid, as per the persistent canard. Money is not the problem here.
Van Susteren was probably just tossing out an idea of what the money could be more wisely spent on and education popped into her mind as something undoubtedly worthy. But that is the wrong way to think: as with most publicly-funded institutions in the U.S., more money is not what is needed. The problem is not that the money is spent badly. In part, this is actually a function of there being…hold on…to much money to spend.
Congress is profligate because it has so too much money. Stupid projects are almost inevitable when money is no object.
The cure for the absurdities revealed in the "Wastebook" is not for government to spend more wisely. It is for government to spend less. Indeed, it is for government to have less to spend.
To do that, we have to reform the tax system so that the nice people in Congress don't have as much of our money to toss around with reckless abandon.
Democrats will tell you that the government needs more, not less. This is absurd. This year for the first time tax revenue topped $3 trillion! With revenues like that, it is not surprising that Congress votes to waste a lot of it (but not on paying down the deficit: that is not a fun way to unload hard-earned taxpayer dollars!).
Like many problems in the U.S., the ones revealed in the Wastebook could be mitigated if less money were sent to D.C.