Very fair questions. I’ll go through them one by one, but will try not to write out a novel-length answer.
Firstly, regarding the Flint water problem, I actually agree with your assessment of the *source* of the problem, namely incompetence/corruption on the part of public officials. When I talked about money, I was talking more about the solution to the problem, which would appear to include infrastructure upgrades to help prevent something like this from happening again. Also, the state/local government should be on the hook for medical issues arising from the crisis, and that too costs money. Beyond that, though, I agree that holding officials accountable for this mess should be a priority. Without accountability, there’s no reason to think something like this won’t happen again somewhere else.
“ Prisons have even worse track records as continuing-education facilities. But more money is the answer?”
Education programs help reduce recidivism. Several studies have shown this. Granted, the system is far from perfect, but the potential to actually save taxpayer money by cutting into recidivism rates via educational and job training programs is a goal that’s worth pursuing for both fiscal and ethical/humanitarian reasons, IMHO.
“ How large would its take need to be before you’d entertain other explanations for its failures?”
I never suggested that the government’s failures are due entirely to a lack of funding because I have never believed that to be the case. Very few failures in life can be boiled down to a lack of money, regardless of whether we’re talking about the failures of government or the failures of the private sector.
As for how much money I think the government needs to effectively do its job, I can’t answer that because there is no good answer. Any number I toss out there will change as circumstances change. Next year, they may need less money. The year after that, they may need more. I prefer to keep taxes as low as possible, but I also believe that the government has certain responsibilities it isn’t properly fulfilling. And if we need a little more money to make sure they do, I’m not necessarily opposed to it depending on how that money is raised. However, I do believe in pursuing alternative solutions whenever possible, which was of course a major theme of my post. If there are effective ways of dealing with some of these issues without raising taxes, and they have a reasonably good chance of success, I’m all in favor of trying them out.
Thank you for expressing your disagreement in a very civil manner, by the way. I always appreciate that!