As President Obama devotes his weekly radio address to “plenty of big ideas” on how to expand the size, scope, and power of government in a putative effort to get the economy going again, Washington Post columnist Anne Applebaum reminds us of the congenital inefficiency of government:
In 2002, the British government estimated the cost of hosting the Olympic Games at $2.8 billion. Ten years later, the price has passed $15 billion and is still rising. When everything is added up — lost business, as many as 13,500 British soldiers patrolling the streets of London (more than are in Afghanistan) — the expenses may come to $38 billion.
The scandal, of course, is that this is no scandal. It’s just standard operating procedure in government. Everyone knows that government programs — from stadiums to Medicare to reconstruction projects — will likely suffer massive cost overruns. The question is why we keep believing the promises.