Progressive liberals often view the increased funding of government as a way of reducing income inequality in the population. Their theory is that selfless bureaucrats, operating through government and unconstrained by the evil profit motive, can redistribute wealth and stamp out inequality. How’s that working out?
Granting more power to government hasn’t reduced inequality; it has increased it. As if out of Soviet Russia, those connected to the authority of the state have gamed political channels for their own gain.
One of the key advancements from public choice was to take the romance out of politics. Even if some particular government policy is a good idea or theoretically justified, we should be wary in granting the government more power and authority, because our “public servants” are just as self-interested as profit-seeking individuals. Because the government is not seeking profit, it is often difficult, but not impossible, to assess how they are creating value for society.
Well, is it OK that we spend so much money on bureaucrats, because that’s the just the cost of government? The justification to fund more government for its own sake is strange. Russ Roberts pointed out in his recent podcast with Don Boudreaux how weird it is to want to spend more resources rather than fewer to solve a problem:
Viewpoint: If something isn’t as good as we thought it should be, we ought to spend more money on it. We never do that in the private sector. Nobody says, if we want better cars we should write some donations to Honda and Ford–bad example. Everybody understands that that set of incentives is misaligned. But people say spending more money on public schools is good.