Federal policies rely on top-down planning and coercion. That tends to create winners and losers, which is unlike the mutually beneficial relationships of markets. It also means that federal policies are based on guesswork because there is no price system to guide decision making. A further problem is that failed policies are not weeded out because they are funded by taxes, which are compulsory and not contingent on performance.
Legislators often act counter to the general public interest.
They use debt, an opaque tax system, and other techniques to hide the
full costs of programs.
Civil servants act within a bureaucratic system that rewards
inertia, not the creation of value. Various reforms over the decades
have tried to fix the bureaucracy, but the incentives that generate poor
performance are deeply entrenched in the executive branch.
The federal government has grown enormous in size and scope.
Each increment of spending has produced less value but rising taxpayer
costs. Failure has increased as legislators have become overloaded by
the vast array of programs they have created. Today’s federal budget is
100 times larger than the average state budget, and it is far too large
to adequately oversee.
Is the only way to create a major improvement in performance to cut the overall size of the federal government?