Pissing Away $4 Trillion a Year

How would you spend 4 trillion dollars? We really can’t even comprehend that amount of money. A better question is, how would 318 million Americans (or 243 million federal taxpaying Americans) spend a cumulative $4 trillion if they had a choice?

The federal budget for 2016, is 4.1 trillion dollars. This is not even talking about state and local government spending. Even if you think we need some government, the federal government could cease to exist tomorrow, and we would still have state and local sponsored education, roads, police, and even the national guard. If the United States government disappeared, state and local governments in the United States would still be spending over $3 trillion annually to “keep you safe” or whatever most people pretend the government is good for.

What this all means is that 41% of all the wealth produced in America is pissed away by government every-single-year. And I’m not even going to make my usual anarchist arguments in this post, I do that enough. I just want to point out that the U.S. government could vanish, and the only thing that would change is Americans could spend $4 trillion on the things they want and need instead of the things the American government wants and says we need.

If we are that concerned about crime (even with state and local “authorities” in tact) perhaps American households will purchase crime insurance, which would probably cost about as much per household as home insurance. If each of the 134 million households in America spent an additional $1,000 on average for crime insurance, that would come to $134 billion, which is about 22% of the United States’ annual military budget, and in the same ballpark as the next highest military spender on earth, China.

Maybe some “greedy corporations” would get their hands on the interstate highways, and –gasp– charge a subscription fee for fixing the potholes and infrastructure. If all 210 million licensed American drivers paid $126 per year (the cost of a premier AAA membership) to drive on these roads, that would come to $28.5 billion.

Perhaps without the feds “taking care of the poor” people would want to give a little extra to charity. Apparently 1.3 billion people on earth live in extreme poverty on the equivalent of less than $1.25 per day, so we could double the standard of living of the poorest 20% of earthlings for just $593 billion–still less than the 2016 military budget, and a little over half of the yearly federal spending on welfare.

Don’t know how to distribute that money properly? Neither does the government. But the free market does, or rather, millions of people working together each filling a different niche, interested in a different subculture, and focusing on a particular area, ethnicity, age group, disease etc. know how to get that money where it needs to go.

But you know what, the federal government sponsors a lot of science and research. I know! What if Americans were free to invest their money in their interests, where they think it will pay off, whether it is for new technology, disease cures, or random studies? Maybe without the feds stealing $4 trillion each year, the average American will invest $1,000 in stocks, or trust their local bank to invest it in a mutual fund. That’s $318 billion in extra funding for innovation, research, and technological advance.

And the best part is, all this wealth being properly placed by interested parties will mean even more wealth is created the next year! Sure, federal employees will lose their jobs, but the jobs won’t simply vanish! Instead there will be countless new jobs from the extra investment, countless new jobs from the new charities, countless new jobs from the new industries which create wealth that wasn’t there before.

With people holding onto more of their money, they can spend it on things they care about. A former government employee can finally start that woodworking business he’s always dreamed of, because now his neighbors have enough extra cash to afford his beautiful oak tables. The EPA official who loves nature can start his environmental sustainability website which is paid for by ads from companies who now have more customers to reach. The oak tables and environmental information are new wealth created instead of the unproductive endeavors the government was spending the money on.

The money that the U.S. government wastes on stupid crap like oil subsidies, corrupt politicians, bailouts, war, and ruining honest businesses would instead be spent on productive industry; productive according to whoever earned the money in the first place, and thus should decide how it is spent.

Currently the U.S. government runs on the broken window fallacy. A broken window does not improve the economy, because the person who pays to repair it must spend his money on a window instead of spending it on whatever he wants–a nice dinner out, a new alpaca wool sweater, or a novel by his new favorite author, Joe Jarvis.

Likewise, the U.S. government bombing children in the Middle East does not stimulate the economy, it gives money to defense contractors instead of allowing me and you to spend it where we want: my choice would be on plants for a food forest. What would you spend your stolen money on?

2 thoughts on “Pissing Away $4 Trillion a Year

  1. Pingback: Startup Societies are the Future | Joe Jarvis

  2. Pingback: In Free Markets, Excess is Distributed | Joe Jarvis

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