Thursday, April 13, 2006

Most harmful government programs

Human Events recently conducted its fourth annual survey of conservative leaders to determine what they believe is the most harmful government program. The results of the survey are here. The process is explained here. Here are the results:

1. Social Security
2. Medicare
3. Income Tax Withholding
4. McCain-Feingold (campaign finance reform)
5. Contraceptive funding
5. Farm Subsidies
7. Medicaid
8. Affirmative Action
9. Earmarking
9. Davis Bacon Act

One thing that I dislike about this process is that it unclear whether the programs are being judged relative to their size. It seems like they are now, but that wasn't the case three years ago, when the Legal Services Corporation won.

I don't see too much to disagree with on this list. I would have liked to see United Nations dues and the Federal Reserve make the top ten, though.

What do you think?


Matthew Moss said...

What's your beef with the Federal Reserve?

Allan said...

The Federal Reserve inflates the money supply. That is, it prints money out of nothing. This causes the value of the money that people already hold to decline.

Since the Fed was created in 1913, our money has lost 95% of its value due to inflation. This constitutes a huge hidden tax on Americans. It essentially gives government the power to destroy our economy.

Matthew Moss said...

The Fed inflates and deflates the money supply to act on interest rates. It attempts to create a balance between curbing inflation and creating jobs. The Fed has decreased the money supply (and subsequently interest rates have risen) for the past 14-or-so meetings of the FOMC.

The Fed is a service to our country, and if you ask anyone who is active in the market, they'll be thankful to the Fed. They foster the market by putting breaks on an overheated economy (my decreasing the money supply) and stimulate a ressessionary one (by increasing the money supply) reducing variance on the market overall.

The Federal Reseve acts on the money supply by buying and selling US Treasury Securities. I'm pretty sure the Federal Reserve doesn't have the ability to print money, but I know the Government can. To blame that for inflation, however, is inaccurate. Economists cannot exactly pinpoint the cause of inflation, and to suggest its the fault of a single entity such as the Fed isn't correct.

Most of the time, to be honest, the Fed is criticized for tightening the money supply too much.

A.J. said...

Let's not forget that the value of our money is no longer backed by gold, but by the Fed's ability to keep money scarce.
Also, although it is accurate that inflation cannot be pinpointed to an exact cause, it can be estimated fairly accurately. Though money supply is definitely a cause of inflation, the Fed has consistently shown a remarkable ability to keep inflation down through several different controling tactics, such as adjusting the Fed Funds Rate, and allowing (or disallowing) the minting of more money.