Re: Fw: [LAPD] Government Spending and Public Choice Theory

Paul Hughes (
Sun, 22 Feb 1998 14:26:44 -0800

James Daugherty wrote:

> -----Original Message-----
> From: The Libertarian Alliance <>
> To: LAPD List <>
> Date: Sunday, February 22, 1998 1:13 PM
> Subject: [LAPD] Government Spending and Public Choice Theory
> |
> |By Paul Marks
> |
> |Economic Notes No. 42
> ||
> |In the United States in 1960, defence spending was 12.1% of total
> |output and federal welfare spending (pensions, unemployment benefit,
> |etc.) was 4.8%. In 1980 defence spending was 7.3% of total output
> |and federal welfare was 12.6%.

This is the most rediculous figure I have ever seen!! I am falling out of my
chair right now with laughter!! Annual spending in 1980 on defense was
approximately $250 billion. Are you actually telling me that over a quarter
of a trillion dollars was spent on welfare during the same year? Unless of
course you do consider all the subsidies that corporations get (i.e.
corporate welfare) as part of this welfare figure.

> |
> |The wholehearted supporter of Public Choice might say that this is
> |because more people believe that welfare spending will benefit them
> |than believe that defence spending will. But the whole point of the
> |libertarian economic case is that such things as the surge of "Great
> |Society" welfare programs benefit no one with the possible exception
> |of the people who administer them, that such spending increases the
> |very poverty it is supposed to reduce.(2)

And this isn't the case for the military-industrial complex who has reaped
trillions of dollars is capital during the same time period?! The same
companies who were padding their books with $1000 screws!? Give me a break!

> |
> |Partly, this is because these schemes increase the number of poor
> |people, which in turn leads to even more welfare spending. It is
> |like the rolling of a snowball down a steep slope.

I'll agree with you here. Over the long haul welfare does nothing but
increase dependency and decrease innovation both in peoples lives and that of
corporations who are not truly competing in the free-market.

My only contention to the argument against welfare though, is we need to
consider humanitarian alternatives for peoples lives as the become
increasingly superfluous in an automated high-output economy.