No matter what side of the political spectrum one is on, there seems to be a lot of people that are dissatisfied with the American government. But those who don’t really understand exactly what’s going on, are under the wrongful impression that it simply takes getting THEIR people in positions of power to correct this problem. In reality, it doesn’t matter who’s side they’re on. So long as they are members of the State, the output will be largely inefficient because of one fundamental reason: they have no competition.
Though government is perceived by most within our region to have a “legitimate” monopoly on violence and use for force, how they operate can still be compared to markets. People seem to assume that they play by a different set of rules. This is both true and false. Do governments have “authority” to do things that others cannot do? Yes. But are their actions null to some of the rules of basic economics? Absolutely not.
This requires no jargon or graphs to understand.
Imagine, if you will, buying a good or service with some of your hard earned money. Let’s assume that the product, good or service performed poorly and you were dissatisfied. Generally you would not recommend purchasing this good or service from the creator and if you needed it again, you would simply consider other options if they exist. Let’s also assume that other individuals have the same experience as you. There was a new demand created out of these interactions, and in a generally free market economy, someone or some people will fill that void, if they are going to see some type of gain from it.
In this case, it would be a financial gain. If new creators and providers put forth a viable alternative to the good or service you desire, as a previously dissatisfied customer, you are going to be more inclined to give their products a shot.
Knowing that they are leaving customers dissatisfied, the creators are going to make adjustments if they have any desire to stay in business. And knowing that they can gain business by offering legitimate alternatives, you will see people within the marketplace push to provide those alternatives. They will monitor markets and make note of mistakes, failures, and successes.
Long story short: Competition breeds better products (and cheaper ones).
Government is a monopoly and has no competition other than themselves for the services they provide. Governments don’t see the same consequence as those within the market for providing a bad product. When Joe Blow’s Garden Hoes sells you a crappy garden hoe, you can go to Moe’s Garden Hoes and try out their products. They are both competing for your business. But when government rolls out a bad program with crappy service, you sort of have to just deal with it. Government has almost an endless supply of money because they can simply confiscate it through taxation. In the case of the Federal Reserve and the Treasury, they can also monetize their debt and spend money they don’t have on top of that (this also can devalue currency). You couple all of this with the fact that they can strong-arm people out of the market because they have the “authority” to use force, they don’t really have an incentive to do better. At the very least, they don’t have the incentives like everybody else in the market does. And finally, a group of a handful of legislators and bureaucrats cannot dictate or predict market prices better than a market with millions of people.
So it doesn’t matter who has the keys to the State. Their services will be largely inefficient. The incentives to do better can, at best, be held by the politicians and government officials. But considering what the State is, it is a magnet for people that have absolutely no desire to do better, but they very well can put on a front to make it seem as if they are.
This is because they are allowed to do things they could not do as regulars in the market, and they are able to collect a paycheck that is nearly guaranteed to them, so as long as they are members of the State.
It doesn’t matter who you get in office. Their tasks are impossible to accomplish. They can’t dictate accurate prices. They are bound to be wasteful. They have no incentive to do better because they have no actual competition.. other than themselves.