Human Events has reviewed a new book by Iain Murray, Stealing You Blind: How Government Fat Cats are Getting Rich Off of You. As your wallet is picked by bureaucrats and and public servants, your American dream dwindles, as theirs swells. I have pre-ordered my Kindle edition (delivery July 12). The e-book price is $15.37 – a bit more than usual but it appears a lot of heavy duty research went into this effort. Reading it the old-fashioned way (hardback) is $17.89.
The following are snippets of two different reviews, one from Human Events and one at Amazon by a Murray colleague, Ryan Young. I see new buzz words, for me: “regulatory capture,” and “increasing your budget,” (theirs not yours),
One of the reasons I ordered this book so quickly is that Human Events writer Sarah Saunders, says the book is well-supported with details, “meticulous statistics,” and is “reader-friendly.” The book lays out an “infuriating picture” of the growing salary disparity between private sector and public servants. (The private sector falls woefully behind those jobs with salaries paid by Mr. and Mrs./Ms taxpayer).
Not limiting himself to politicians and employees at the alphabet soup of “three-letter agencies,” Murray skewers the entire juggernaut government machine, from the IRS to teachers to the TSA (Transportation Security Administration),…
The root of the problem? Not simply human greed, Murray argues, but a system in which success is determined by how many more taxpayer dollars you can funnel to your interests, commonly known as “increasing your budget.” Government bureaucrats strive to be relevant not by solving problems, but by creating them to require more money and manpower to fix.
Murray reserves much of his harshest vitriol for public employee unions, describing fraud, extortion and absurdity that perpetuates a cycle allowing employees to perform at levels simply unacceptable in the private sector, demanding that they be paid more for it, and funneling government funds into the pockets of union bureaucrats. For example, the American Federation of State, County and Municipal Employees (AFSCME) took in about $202 million in 2009 and spent $48 million on politics. It has 229 employees making more than $100,000, and the highest-paid employee earns $479,328, more than the President of the United States.
Murray does a lot of reminding in this book. It contains story after depressing story of government officials responding to their incentives. A politician’s incentive is to win re-election. A regulator’s incentive is to expand his agency’s turf and budget. A public sector labor union’s incentive is to gain members — usually by growing government and supporting allied politicians.
This has consequences. When regulators have the power to tilt the playing field, businesses have an incentive to come to Washington and see that the field is tilted their way. This is called regulatory capture, and it is a huge source of Washington corruption.
I’ll let you know what I think. Click here or on the graphic to take you to the book’s Amazon page. I have an affiliate number but haven’t used it in ages, so this is not about me making money off of your purchase.