Wednesday, March 31, 2010

Efficiency Savings in Government: Ending Waste, Fraud, and Abuse

If politicians around the world are to be believed, trillions of dollars can be saved by reducing or eliminating waste, fraud, and abuse in government.

A few examples should suffice. Great Britain is facing a national election in early May. Conservative Party leader David Cameron is promising, if elected as prime minister, that his government will cut one percentage point off payroll tax, from 15 to 14 percent, for 70 percent of British employees. The cut, he said, will not increase the deficit because he has promised to find the necessary savings in greater government efficiency.

To pay for his health care plan, President Barack Obama has promised nearly $500 billion in Medicare savings through greater efficiency.

Meg Whitman, founder and former chief executive of Ebay, is running for governor of California (her likely opponent is former governor Jerry Brown). She has pledged, if elected, to reduce state government spending through efficiency savings.

     We see efficiency savings here
     We see efficiency savings there
     We see efficiency savings everywhere
     Are we in heaven
     Or are we in hell
     Those damnable elusive efficiency savings

Efficiency savings, whether used to justify tax cuts or spending increases without increasing deficits, is the last refuge of political scoundrels.