Monday, August 07, 2017

Government by Voucher

A mainstay of GOP economic policy is the use of "vouchers" as an alternative to direct government funding of (mainly social) programs.

So, what's a "voucher?" For purposes of the current discussion, we'll define it as, "an amount of money provided by the government to an individual or family to defray a particular category of expense, such as health care or a child's education at the school of the parents' choice." The voucher concept appeals to conservatives and libertarians because it removes the government from a role in individual decision-making, allowing the individual to apply a given amount of money as he or she sees fit.

Of course, from a conservative or libertarian perspective, the government shouldn't be giving anyone any money at all ... the individual should be totally responsible for his or her own life and decisions, and should not expect the government to channel anyone else's hard-earned money to them for any reason. But as long as the reality is that some form of government assistance will be needed by a certain part of the population, vouchers are the go-to answer for conservatives and libertarians.

So ...

Why not let vouchers take the place of government budgeting?

Since Congress hasn't actually passed a budget for years, relying on "continuing resolutions" to fund the nation's business, why not admit that budgets are passé and just run the country by giving vouchers to each cabinet department and independent federal agency? I think the federal government could save a huge amount of money by dumping the whole budget sham with all its vast administrative overhead and just delivering shrink-wrapped pallets of hundred-dollar bills to each department to spend however they want, much as the DoD and CIA do to rent the temporary allegiance of warlords in Afghanistan and Pakistan. For instance ...

Give the Department of Defense a voucher for, oh, say, about $600 billion*, and tell the Secretary of Defense that he can spend it on whatever he needs for the national defense.

Give the Department of Education a few million** to spend on frivolous things like ... well ... educating our children and preparing them for a future as productive citizens.

No vouchers needed for the Environmental Protection Administration, since it's being managed into politically-mandated uselessness, anyhow.

Financial management by voucher ... how could it be any worse than the mess we have now?

Have a good day. If you don't have one, let me know and I'll send you a voucher.

More thoughts tomorrow.


* The DoD Budget Request for FY 2017 was $582.7 billion. See page 1-2.

** The Department of Education Budget Request for FY 2017 was $69.4 billion, but that was clearly too much, since it's obvious that the American populace isn't especially well educated. The department can get by with a lot less, as can most school districts, since teachers make up a lot of funding shortfalls out of their staggeringly large salaries ... and in any case, teaching junk science and "creation science" is cheap, anyhow.


eViL pOp TaRt said...

So much for the possible role of Congress monitoring how the money is spent and keeping out frivolities!

Mike said...

I just need one pallet of one hundred dollar bills. I don't want to be greedy.

Grand Crapaud said...

I would be happy with just half a palette of $100 bills.

Elvis Wearing a Bra on His Head said...

So much for effective managing of resources........

allenwoodhaven said...

The government could use the envelope method: each month put cash for various expenses in labeled envelopes and not spend any more. That's pretty much what vouchers are. It's just too bad if it's not enough for whatever purpose it's intended. Those who love vouchers expect, I think, for it to not be enough; that's their plan to reduce costs and get "the takers" to leave more money for "the givers". After all, the poor are used to not having money and the rich would be so confused that it wouldn't be fair to them!