As many of you know I am a big fan of Stefan Molyneux. His call in shows are a bit emo, but when he does specials or particular research on a particular topic I very much enjoy them as he is usually pioneering a new vein of philosophy or thought.
However a common fact he refers to (not necessarily cite) is that the amount of money in social programs that actually reaches their intended recipients is a mere fraction of the total, implying the majority of it merely goes into the pockets of government workers and administrators.
I had no reason to doubt him as I trust the man is intellectually honest, but it wasn't until my economic spidey senses started tingling with a great economic idea that I found out he is likely wrong.
The idea was that if there was that much government bloat, there would be an area where even the most right wing and left wing persons could get together and have a great compromise. Recipients of welfare, TANF, WIC, EBT, etc., could get an increase in their benefits, while the producers and taxpayers of society could get their taxes lowered. This would be possible by simply streamlining the government bloat used to manage these programs and would be a win win for everybody.
The problem is government overhead accounting for the majority of social program spending just isn't true. Glenn Kessler did some outstanding (and rare) journalism researching the topic, finding a study that shows SNAP's overhead only accounts for 6% of total spending. Media Matters also pulled some data for multiple social programs showing the overhead for these programs ranging from 4% to 17%. And while I don't trust Media Matters to present this data without manipulation or spin, it is in line with Kessler's research (though, not surprisingly their links to the original sources no longer work).
Regardless, the point is that those of us on the right or libertarian side of the political spectrum cannot rely on lies or false data simply because its against our principles. We want to base our decisions in reality since that is the best way to develop policy, theories, and philosophies that work best in the real world. So even though it would have been nice to perhaps balance the federal budget on the backs of overpaid and overbloated numbers of government workers, sadly, it doesn't look that way. We'll just have to find other ways.
POST POST - I spoke with Michael over at Free Domain Radio and he said Stefan already has something in the pipe on this and will present his figures. Some of the things cited in the comments are what he will be addressing, so I'm sure we'll have a good response.