8.6.07

More on Ronnie and Irony

So maybe we weren't harsh enough on President Reagan's ability to make government less efficient. According to B. Dan Wood and his statistical model, he found that after the Regan inauguration, EPA outputs actually increased by around 30%. After these budget cuts, the EPA outputs decreased by 23% compared to the Carter monthly average. Then Congress became involved, and attempted to put the clamps on Reagan's attempted destruction of the EPA. Reagan appointees started to resign, and outputs at the EPA then increased by 16% over the pre-Reagan average.

So when did output go up at first? Probably as a result of long time bureaucrats attempting to show Reagan that they were the boss and wouldn’t be pushed around so easily. When Reagan and his political hacks started to sabotage the EPA (and other agencies like the Department of Energy), government became less efficient. Whether Congress saved the day is a matter of opinion.

The point of this, in the end, is that the idea of smaller government is a pipe dream. Bureaucrats are going to fight you tooth and neck to save their jobs, power, and resources. And who can blame them? They are usually around for many different administrations and like pretty much any 'rational' human (private or public sector) they do not want to be or become unemployed.

This idea must be disturbing to every small government Republican that voted for Bush (and Reagan). Let's assume that once government is expanded, it cannot be contracted (a reasonable assumption given the facts). George W. Bush's tremendous government spending and expansion must keep small government GOPers awake at night (or least it should) since he's basically doing everything they hate.

3 comments:

Alles said...

What's an output? Is it spending, number of regulations, or trips to Hawaii paid for by tax-payers? And who cares about the EPA? It has to be less than 1% of federal expenditure. He probably had other things on his mind.

Just because bureaucrats are pissy money pits doesn't mean we should cede control of the country to them. While it's incredibly hard to shrink existing bureaucracies, it's a lot easier to prevent new ones from happening by voting against them (national healthcare, immigration reform). That's the key to preventing the expansion of government.

All BS analysis of government agencies aside, one thing defines Reagan's legacy:
1981: Soviet Union
1991: Russia

Otter said...

That's foreign policy, and even there Reagan gets far too much credit. The USSR was a dead country walking before Reagan even got into office. You could make an argument, and probably someone correct one, that Reagan sped up the demise of the USSR. But if anyone brought the USSR to an end, it's Mikhail Gorbachev. He could have sent troops to Poland and Germany in 1989. And if he had done so, it's not crazy to think the USSR would still be around.

As far as the EPA, yes it's a small agency, but the point is that Reagan made government (at least part of government) more inefficient.

Alles said...

The truth is that liberals love giving credit to Gorby and no matter what I say it's not going to change your mind. He was a dyed-in-the-wool communist who had his hand forced. History will long remember who did the forcing.