All politicians at the federal level are liars – and I say that with no qualifiers.
Every one of them has promised at some time to stimulate the economy with government spending. It’s always their first instinct when faced with an employment shortage or a recession.
Both parties have done it, and it has always been a scam. “Shovel Ready Projects” spent a lot of money, but failed to fix stagnant economic growth. COVID relief went right into the pockets of large corporations, not to the American workers it was supposed to help. And now, our leaders in Washington are telling us that “Build Back Better” (BBB) will fix everything from inflation to toenail fungus. It will certainly be one of the most expensive boondoggles of all time – but count me as skeptical about it being a cure for anything.
All of these programs promised to stimulate the economy. All have failed (or will fail in the case of BBB). The notion that the government can spend its way to a better economy is a fundamentally flawed concept. And yet, every couple of years we have politicians telling us that it will work this time.
Economic activity is the result of people spending money. They spend it to buy products, or to hire employees. Those who receive the money then in turn spend it to buy more products or hire other employees. The cycle continues over and over. The economy grows when people spend more money on those products and services today than they did yesterday.
But any money given to us by the government, must first be taken from us. There is a limited number of ways for the government to get that money, and they all involve taking from us by some means.
- The government can tax us and take the money directly from us. We find taxation objectionable, but it’s actually the most honest means of government taking.
- The government can borrow the money. Of course, then the taxpayers are stuck with paying the interest – forever.
- The Fed can crank up the printing presses and the government can flood the country with new money. But that creates inflation and robs us all of purchasing power. It is the cruelest of the government’s methods of taking. Nobody escapes it, not even the poor.
- The government could sell property to generate revenue. It has access to oil reserves, timber reserves, and intellectual property from research. But any such property has already been paid for, by us, through one of the other methods of taking.
The bottom line is this: If the government has something, it got it from us. That’s why the claim that government spending can stimulate the economy is a total scam. It is impossible to stimulate the economy by taking money away from us, giving less of it back, and then acting as though it’s free money. There’s nothing free about it.
Our politicians always bill stimulus as a temporary measure. It never is. It always grows the size of government, and that bloat must be supported forever.
As of 2020, the federal government has grown to almost 3 million employees. Have you ever heard of a reduction in workforce at the end of one of these “temporary” spending measures? Neither have I. In fact, our government has stimulated its way to about $30 trillion of debt. That’s $90,000 of debt for each man, woman, and child in America. The average family of four is paying more interest on the federal debt (in their taxes) than they are for their home mortgage.
Explain how giving them a little money back stimulates the economy more than letting them keep the money to start with.
Government spending does not stimulate the economy. It throttles it. The only thing that “stimulus spending” stimulates is government growth.
The next time a politician runs on a platform promising “stimulus,” don’t be fooled. Recognize it for what it is. He is offering to pick your pocket, give you the loose change back, and suggesting that you should be grateful for it.
Our politicians are addicted to money and in desperate need of an intervention. We are long overdue for a constitutional amendment imposing fiscal restraints on Washington.
John Green is a State Content Writer for Convention of States Idaho.