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The Need for Government at all levels to Compare Costs in relation to results

Updated on December 3, 2014

Comparing costs to benefits has been a way of life for businesses and individuals alike and the same philosophy needs to be put in place within our federal and state government operations.

The federal government is the worst from what it appears to ignore the need to evaluate the costs of programs, policies, rules or regulations compared to the objectives and the results. The federal government in particular spends money on a host of programs and projects which in many cases lacks logical thinking. All of us have heard about the waste some organizations identify where money is spent on research activity which makes no sense and provides no obvious benefit to society as a whole.

Before going further there are programs which should not be a part of the cost comparison philosophy. Programs such as Social Security, Medicare and Medicaid provide critical necessities to individuals who count on these programs. The costs involved in these programs while not using the comparison philosophy requires changes and what those changes will be is unknown at this time.

In addition to the programs in the preceding paragraph other areas involving costs factors involve our national security (homeland security) and the strength of our military. While costs need to be analyzed in these areas the comparison factor comes into play to decide the best approaches to get the best possible benefit with the least amount of dollars. This needs to be done without jeopardizing the security of our country. There are many issues facing our country in the world we now find ourselves but we should not sacrifice our security in an effort to save money. Granted technology can be of benefit in streamlining activities surrounding the security of our country but it should not be used as an excuse to cut back the size of our military. This in some reports has been the justification to reduce the defense budget. One proposal now being considered is to replace some of our troops with civilian employees. Some operations may be justified in this respect but when you need troops to send to locations around the world civilians cannot provide this capacity. Civilians cannot do everything our troops have the training and expertise to accomplish around the world.

The present strength of our military or at least the process put in place is to reduce the size of our military to pre-World War II levels which makes no sense. Justification for this has been to reduce the military budget making the argument nothing regarding the security of our country has been affected. Our military is stretched thin and with the issues/threats facing our country it is no time to reduce the size of our military. There can be a reduction of costs without sacrificing our national security by evaluating what programs are working and which are not. Our military should be an efficient machine with processes that promote efficiency in the way our military operates.

Cost comparison philosophy needs to be invoked in the process of generating rules and regulations and their impact. Any time a rule or regulation is issued by a government entity at any level it costs money not only to manage but it affects the costs for individuals and/or businesses that must conform to these actions. There have been thousands of rules and regulations created in recent years and while some are necessary and are within the federal government responsibility others not so much. Rules and regulations sometimes give the appearance of being bent on imposing policy objectives rather than distinct traceability to laws enacted by Congress. Many rules and regulations are an overreach of government into our daily lives and the decisions we should be able to make for ourselves. Government should not be making decisions for us through rules and regulations.

Congress and the executive departments and agencies need to look at the costs of what they want to do and whether there will be a positive benefit or a negative impact on the economy. Legislative actions along with rules and regulations which will have a negative impact on our economy need to have proper justification before they become finalized. With respect to legislative actions it is the responsibility of Congress to look at costs factors for current programs or future programs. Some programs have been in place for many years and constantly get funding each year while the objective (s) have never been reached. These programs should be eliminated and the money allocated to more worthwhile endeavors.

In the area of rules and regulations executive departments and agencies have a responsibility to look at the costs of these activities to ensure unnecessary negative impact will not be imposed on the economy. Congress also has a responsibility in this area as the check on the executive department to ensure tax dollars are spent wisely for which the thousands of rules and regulations appear to be excessive in relation to costs and benefits.


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