The Hidden Government Budget

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Clyde Wayne Crews reminds us on Forbes.com that taxes aren’t the only costly burden governments place on the societies that they are supposedly serving:

Congress is moving forward on the 2018 federal Budget Resolution, and maybe the promised tax system overhaul. Of course, the $4 trillion a year the federal government spends — and the realization that fiscal year 2017 ended with a $666 billion deficit — are only part of the story.

Apart from its own spending, Washington directs the private sector to spend and re-purpose vast resources, too. All that red tape and regulatory overreach led to President Trump’s proposals for speeding up project permitting, and for eliminating two regulations for every one enacted.

And we’re not talking small amounts, here:

… we need to slice up the elephant for digestion by employing separate cost allocations for economic, safety, health, social, environmental, transportation, and tech policy categories, and of course paperwork . These days, government paperwork chews up 9.778 billion hours, the annual equivalent of 13,953 full human lifetimes.

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As Iain Murray notes on Instapundit, that’s 4.7 million people doing nothing but helping private industry comply with government rules.  Some of that is unavoidable, but we should keep in mind that 4.7 million is a lot of people not growing the economy and not innovating… except, of course, when it comes to finding loopholes for those who can afford the investigation.

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