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Big Government: Doing It Faster, Better and Cheaper than Oversubsidized Wall Street Hacks for the Better Part of a Century

One of the big myths promoted by movement conservatives — many if not most of whom owe their careers to heavy-duty financial support from rich right-wing sugar daddies, without whom they never would have made it in a genuinely free market — is that Big Government and Evil Bureaucracies are the enemies of all Americans because they are staffed with lazy, overpaid mokes seeking to subvert the very foundations of our democracy by doing things that private-sector entities can do much better, cheaper and faster. It turns out that, as with so much conservative spewage, this is a perfect example of projecting one’s own foibles onto your foes.

Let’s look at a favorite perennial target of the Cons: Social programs, in particular the government old-age insurance program known as Social Security, which privatizers have been greedily eyeing for years. Like its cousin for Federal employees, the Thrift Savings Program, it has vanishingly low overhead costs, in no small part because government salaries in even the high-expense area of Washington, D.C. top out at well under $200 thousand instead of $200 million (or much, much more) per annum. TSP’s overhead costs: 30 cents per each $1000 invested, or .03% Aside from the handful of Barclays people involved, most TSP employees are Feds and thus are limited to the $200k max cited above. As for Social Security, it checks in with less than 1% of invested money spent on overhead costs (about $7 per each $1000).

Compare this with the 15% overhead costs — or $150 per every $1000 — typically levied by the private sector on annuities. Similar percentages hold for overseas privatized pension/insurance plans, such as those in the UK. And in Chile’s plan, a plethora of hidden fees means that the bite taken out of each worker’s money approaches 34%!

I think I’ll keep my Social Security, thanks.

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