As Cheap As The People….

What the government has got to do is live as cheap as the people. – December 21, 1933    Will Rogers

 I have often on this blog mentioned that I am a proud social-progressive but I probably don’t as often proclaim that I am a fiscal conservative. For that reason this post as a general rule rings very true to me.  Our government should learn to live as frugally as it’s citizens. There are obvious places where that is not the case.

One of those that I often pronounce here is our military budget but that is not the only one. It seems that our government just doesn’t have a lot of common sense when it comes to spending our tax dollars. A local case in point is that my local and State government is spending over $5 million to basically add  about a half a mile of sidewalks approaching our high school.  In the process they will also re-configure one traffic intersection and widen the berms of the road.  The basic trouble is that hardly any of the high school kids walk to school! For the most part, given the 500 or so parking spaces around a school of about 900, they drive themselves.  I’m sure that if it were analyzed we could have provided each of the ones who might actually walk to school a brand new car, and even with that cost we could have probably saved mucho dollars on this project.

A federal example is given the amount of fraud of our Medicare and Medicaid systems it seems that we could actually save billions and perhaps trillions of dollars by providing more investigators and more vigilant prosecutors to catch those individuals and especially private businesses and corporations who are gaming the system. They do catch some, for instance the major drug company that was recently fined $50 million for charging for drugs they never delivered, but even then the fine was probably a small fraction of the total profit gained. For many businesses the fines they pay are just part of doing business to them. If we put more in jail maybe that mentality would change.

The Medicare system is the most efficient healthcare system in our country but it could be much much better if our government viewed the dollars they spend as we normal folks do.   If my family started getting bills for non-existent family member or for knee replacements that never happened I’m sure none of us would not go ahead and pay the bill. Instead we would do what we could to catch the “perps” be they individuals or private businesses. Our government should do the same.

I took a couple of economics classes in college years  and years ago but I’m pretty sure they still apply to today. 🙂  One of the things we were taught is that when a country faces a sever downturn in the economy, as we have several times in my life, the government needs to step in to prevent the total collapse of our systems. Without that spending we would have to, like the proverbial Phoenix, rise out of total ashes after each serious downturn.  So, while I may be a fiscal conservative I am not a masochist that demands total frugality when spending is needed.

But what do I know….