The Washington Examiner reminds us that July 6 was the “Cost of Government Day” – the day the government stopped consuming every penny of national production since the first of the year. Cost of Government Day (CGD) comes later in the year than Tax Freedom Day because CGD includes the cost of regulatory compliance. Before President Obama took office CGD fell on June 20, so the cost of government continues to grow. (And for blue states like New York, CGD comes even later than July 6.)
Included in the cost of government is the massive bureaucracy that is bleeding us dry, as Glenn Reynolds pointed out in his latest USA Today column.
Here in the United States, a lot of programs officially aimed at the poor look suspiciously like subsidies to the New Class, too. Among “means-tested” programs, Food Stamps, now officially called SNAP, cover about 46 million people up to 125% of the poverty line (set at about $16,000 for a single mother and child). Other programs, such as the Earned Income Tax credit, cover people at slightly higher incomes, up to 200% of the poverty line. When federal spending on the dozens of programs are added up and state and local contributions included, the budget for assistance is about $1 trillion.
If we simply handed those people, perhaps 60 million of them, their share of the cash, that would be more than $16,500 each. A single mom and her baby would get over $33,000, twice as much as a poverty wage. A family of four would land more than $66,000, $15,000 more than the average family income.
So where’s the money going? To people who aren’t poor, such as doctors paid through Medicaid or landlords paid through Section 8. And to tens of thousands of members of the New Class, people like social workers, administrators and lawyers who run more than 120 different means tested federal programs.
It’s not just poverty spending, of course. Higher education spending goes more and more to administrators, not to faculties, and, for that matter, NASA seems more interested in feeding its bureaucracy than in going to Mars, or even back to the Moon.
Read the whole thing. As more regulations are imposed and the government grows, the New Class grows along with it, consuming more and more of our production and our money.