The Reality Check of Government Services

“Today we find ourselves in a quandary of what to do about government services and programs that not only are producing inadequate results, they are unsustainable.”

The creed of Thomas Edison was to never give up. When experimenting on the incandescent light bulb, he used numerous materials in an effort to develop a durable filament that would emit light without burning up. He was successful only after hundreds of attempts. Each time he was unsuccessful in his experiments, he would say that he had not failed, he had found 10,000 ways not to do it. In other words, he never would accept the status quo as the best that we can do. People marveled at his persistence to never give up. His reply was said to have been, “Many of life’s failures are people who did not realize how close they were to success when they gave up.”

Today we find ourselves in a quandary of what to do about government services and programs that not only are producing inadequate results, they are unsustainable. We are delegating to our children a future of failed government expectations. A reality check is required to properly discuss solutions.


Currently health care costs are around 18% of GDP. By 2080 it will be 50%. Most countries spend 8-12% of GDP on health care costs. Are we unhealthier than other countries? Only minimally. Health care is very complicated. We are living longer as a population. The pharmaceutical industry and hospitals play a role, but the real driver is that government and private insurance pays for far greater benefits than most other countries. According to one source, one half of all of our lifetime health expenditures will be spent in the last six months of our lives. And lives are not extended. Other countries have determined what they will pay for and what is left to the individual to pay. They make this decision in open public debate and discourse. Then as a nation, they stand behind their decision. It is time to have that debate and discussion in the United States. ​

Besides health care, our government spends more money on education at the state level than on any other single service. Yet our children are falling further and further behind international standards of educational performance. A recent a study cited that 30% of high school graduates in the United States did not perform sufficiently enough on SAT exams to indicate that they were prepared for college. Education is very complicated. Lack of parental involvement, disrespect for the classroom environment, poverty, and changing cultural demands all play a part. The real driver of  the failure of education is the absence of a national mandate and commitment that, no matter what, every child will graduate from high school. One thing that we could do as a society to demonstrate our resolve is to stipulate that no person will be allowed to get a driver’s license to drive a car unless they are enrolled full time in school and in good standing. Further, no person will be allowed to receive government benefits without a high school diploma. We should spend our money on counseling programs to help children stay in school and make no excuses for those who drop out. Some will need a lot of help, but we still should demand that all achieve an education, as we demand that all receive health care.

The Department of Energy was formed in the 1970s for the purpose of making the United States energy independent. Instead of achieving its goal, it has grown into a huge bureaucracy that includes the handling of nuclear waste. Energy is complicated. Fossil fuels used in excess damage the environment. As a nation state, we do not have control of the world’s supply of oil. Foreign energy cartels do not have the same cost of production as the United States and do not rely solely on the free markets to establish price. The real driver of the cost of energy is the interference of the federal government in the process of pursuing energy independence. Spending government money to subsidize ethanol is a status quo experiment that needs to be left to the private sector.
Environmental Protection Agency

The EPA was established for the purpose of setting standards for air and water quality for the states to implement. It has grown into another huge bureaucracy that far over reaches its original purpose. It sets regulations on everything from manufacturing to agriculture in an effort to dictate to states and the private sector what it deems to be proper environmental controls. The protection of the environment is complicatedThe real driver of environmental costs is over-regulation. Recently the U.S. Supreme Court held that the EPA had overstepped its authority by issuing regulations without consideration for the cost of their implementation. Individual states and private business should not have to sue a federal government agency to protect their individual sovereign rights. It is tyranny by regulation.

The status quo is not working. To accept failure is absolutely unacceptable. In addition to these current government programs, the United States government is in debt at a ratio of over 100% to GDP. The government continues to run deficits and add to the crippling national debt. A reset is in order. Every federal agency, or a component part thereof, that has a state counterpart lead by a statewide elected official should be closed. All standards would be maintained. All federal monies available to the states would be secured and sent directly as block grant programs. The Inspector General’s office would be responsible to send auditors to the states to ensure the federal standards were being met and the money was being spent appropriately. This would save approximately $155 billion annually in oversight bureaucracy. The states are perfectly capable of implementing federal standards.

This week on Meet the Press, moderator Chuck Todd asked presidential candidate Don Trump what he would do to cut the budget. Mr. Trump said he would close the EPA. Todd immediately reacted and became confrontational suggesting its agency budget was merely a drop in the bucket so why do it. Mr. Trump then said you don’t know how much money you would save until you try. In the next segment of the show, the terrible tragedy in Oregon was discussed. Gun control of course became the center of the debate. Again, there is no easy answer. When marginal actions were suggested, like limiting the size of gun magazines, the commentators agreed that minimal action was better than no action. They did not see the hypocrisy in their position on that conclusion versus their conclusion on the EPA.

When addressing the reality of the results produced by government programs, we must not fall into the trap of accepting the status quo for the sake of perpetuating the status quo. When it comes to the future of our children, this reality dictates that structural changes must be made. Winston Churchill said at the height of crisis during World War II, “Never, never, in nothing great or small, large or petty, never give in except to convictions of honour and good sense.” Thomas Edison would have agreed. And so should we.

My name is Marc Nuttle and this is what I believe

What do you believe?