Barack Obama: Prince of Thieves or Man in Tights?

32 comments

Is Barack Obama already breaking campaign promises? It appears that way. And he hasn’t even moved into the White House yet! At least Bill Clinton and George H. W. Bush waited a couple years before breaking their campaign promises on taxes.

Barack Obama just ran a campaign against the Bush tax cuts and how they are not good for our country. Now it appears he will be allowing them to run their course…on account of them being better for our country and all. So which is it?

Americans overwhelmingly elected Obama to deal with this economic crisis. Apparently, we all thought Obama had the best ability to deal with the economy. And the key difference between Obama and McCain on the economy was taxes.

McCain believed that everyone should get a tax cut during a financial crisis. That’s not because he’s a nice guy, that’s because tax cuts grow the economy and create real jobs (and increase federal revenue depending on where we are on the Laffer Curve).

Obama, although he dazzled us with his illusion of cutting taxes for 95% of working Americans (40% don’t pay any taxes already), was ultimately a net tax raiser (i.e. his plan raises taxes far more on the top 5% than it lowers taxes on the bottom 95%). That’s the truth. That’s the only way he could “responsibly” justify his massive amounts of proposed increased spending. He also had to assure all the liberals that he was serious about punishing all those evil rich people (you know…all those sheisty, job-creating CEOs and anyone else who makes over $250k a year, no wait, $200k…ok maybe $150k?).

Does anyone really believe that Obama’s economic team (who he’s supposed to be announcing today, by the way) is going to propose raising taxes on anyone right now? Are they really going to follow through on Barack’s campaign promise to immediately rescind the Bush tax cuts? Are they really going to raise capital gains taxes? I doubt it. Not if they truly want to fix the economy.

So if Obama doesn’t do those things…let’s see: We’re going to keep the bush tax cuts, not raise taxes on the rich, not increase capital gains taxes (i.e. allow the evil rich people to keep investing more of their money and creating jobs), and give everyone a tax cut? Hmm, this economic plan sounds familiar? It’s almost like one of the other major candidates campaigned on this…it couldn’t have been that McCain guy though right? I mean, he didn’t know anything about the economy.

Darn it. All this thinking is making me tired. Yes we can! Yes we can! Yes we can!

…Sorry, I had to self-medicate for a minute.

Anyway, it’s funny (unfortunate) how “spreading the wealth around” via the government redistributing wealth is an ingenius idea when you’re running for president, but then those ideas are quickly abandoned in times of actual crisis – all for the sake of being practical. What more do we have to see to learn that this type of socialistic thinking does not work? It doesn’t work for our economy and it doesn’t work for bringing about long term social justice either.

I’m all for helping those in need, but if we think that the government is the answer then we are fooling ourselves. And there’s a disconnect when we think real charity and love of people comes in the form of forcing some rich person we never met to give us their money so we can then give it to somebody we think needs it more. That takes away the very freedom that makes real charity even possible. (The Gospel readings today speak to this).

We will see if Obama keeps his promises. Will he be the prince of thieves so many socialists were hoping for or just another man in tights twirling about the political stage?

As much as men twirling about in tights is not all that appealing for me, I’d much rather have that than a thief with delusions of princehood. Of course, having either the tights or the prince is still better than having both:

32 comments Add comment

Colin Principe November 24, 2008 at 11:19 am

I seem to recall that another presidential candidate’s “No More Nation Building” promise had to be abandoned in the wake of 9/11. Are Democratic presidential candidates the only ones who are not excused from changing their directions based on the crisis at hand?

Matthew Warner November 24, 2008 at 11:37 am

No, of course not. I think that’s a bad example though. Do you not think there is a huge difference there? One is a reaction to an unforeseeable terrorist attack that happened after he became president. The other is a president saying one thing to get elected and a totally different thing when it’s time to take action – BOTH positions being taken AFTER the same economic crisis that has already happened. Huge difference.

Can democrats not take a legitimate criticism without somehow changing the subject and saying something about Bush and the Iraq war?

Amanda November 24, 2008 at 11:59 am

I’m very impressed. Nicely done.

Joe Henzler November 24, 2008 at 1:01 pm

Your closing paragraph and photo are awesome! Very droll.

Phil November 24, 2008 at 1:06 pm

This is old news sir…voters have known this for months…so you will have to keep seraching for your “Gotcha” piece!

Obama: Recession Could Delay Rescinding Bush Tax Cuts
September 7, 2008

WASHINGTON — Democrat Barack Obama says he would delay rescinding President Bush’s tax cuts on wealthy Americans if he becomes the next president and the economy is in a recession, suggesting such an increase would further hurt the economy.

http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2008/09/07/obama-recession-could-del_n_124647.html

Phil November 24, 2008 at 1:28 pm

Further to this, I would be willing to put money up that Obama will do exactly as he stated in September: If in a recession, which has become far more evident than it was two months ago when he made those comments (see the collapse of Citi, GM, Ford, Etc.), he will allow the tax cuts to expire in 2011. If not in a recession, he will remove them in 2010.

Not sure what part of what he has said all along you can call “Gotcha” on.

Matthew Warner November 24, 2008 at 1:48 pm

Phil, Obama ran against McCain’s “tax cuts for the rich”. McCain wanted to do this because it would help our weak economy. Now Obama is doing exactly that in the face of an economic crisis because he knows that it will help our weak economy.

I’m not really calling out a “gotcha.” I’m pointing out a contradiction that has existed all along with Barack Obama. His government redistribution “spread the wealth” ideology only “works” when you have a healthy economy to beat on and take advantage of just long enough until it weakens the economy again. That thinking wins elections but it seems to be quickly abandoned anytime there is real economic work to be done.

Phil November 24, 2008 at 2:03 pm

Ok. I thought with the opening line of “Is Barack Obama already breaking campaign promises?” you were implying that he is not following through on what he said he would do. In fact he IS following suit on exactly what he said he would do. No where is he abondoning any of his policies, nor do i believe he will ever do so. The Bush tax cuts need to be repealed – once we get out of this crisis.

And to boot he also appears to be adding much needed stability to the markets in making wise decisions on the advisors that will surround him during his successful tenure. Nice to have some leadership while the lame duck admin is MIA. Cheers.

Matthew Warner November 24, 2008 at 2:15 pm

If you make contradictory campaign statements you’re bound to follow through on one of them! HE’s GENIUS! PURE GENIUS! Why did I not see it before.

Lori November 24, 2008 at 2:56 pm

As a traditional Roman Catholic I am experiencing a fair share of horror that Obama will be our next president. I was discussing my concern with my Priest this weekend and he reminded me that we don’t know what will happen so we must continue to pray that his heart will change regarding issues that really matter. I’m curious to see what will happen regarding Respect Life issues. Money doesn’t mean a thing when millions of babies are losing their life at the hands of our “democracy”. Society is falling apart, morally, so I will do my part to pray that Obama will open his heart to what is truly important.

Lauren November 24, 2008 at 4:10 pm

Bravo!

Paul Nichols November 26, 2008 at 8:37 am

It’s not a “gotcha” moment, which I can’t stand anyway, it’s simply a pointing out of the contradiction.

I suppose what Obama is saying is that raising taxes in a down economy is a bad thing. Bravo! But the question remains – is he saying that he should sock it to the rich when times are good?

If raising taxes is a “bad” thing, then it’s a “bad” thing in good times and bad.

Could it be that Obama’s socialism sounds great to the lemmings on the campaign trail, but that in the real world, maybe it’s not so great?

Phil November 26, 2008 at 8:06 pm

Economics is not in a vaccum. What is good at one end of the cycle may not be good at the other end, and so on. So your statement is incorrect, there is no contradiction. Raising taxes is not necessarily a bad thing in good times AND in bad times.

Raising taxes IS a good thing when the previous admin has run up the largest deficit in US history and you must help pay for it so your children don’t have to.

But raising taxes IS a bad thing when the 2nd largest bank in the world and all 3 US automakers are about to fail.

Again, the economy is not a vaccum. Just as Obama can’t walk into the Whitehouse and reverse the horrible mistake of Iraq by pulling out immediately, he also can’t instantly reverse the damage done by trickle down economics (see our current National Debt).

Just as he must slowly withdraw the troops to get us back on track – he must also slowly raise taxes to get us back on track. You see the theme. And thank God he is now in office…wait, is he? It sure seems like it lately – where is that ‘other’ lame duck anyways? Has he moved out already?

Matthew Warner November 26, 2008 at 11:08 pm

Trickle down economics did not cause our national debt. Spending money the government didn’t have caused the national debt.

Economically, raising taxes is always bad. In terms of maximizing revenue for the government – that’s a different story. But I don’t think our priority should be maximizing the govs income. It should be on maximizing the income of Americans.

We don’t have a debt because taxes weren’t high enough. We have a debt because the government has a SPENDING problem. Admittedly, Bush was part of that problem. But Obama sure as heck is no cure for a spending problem.

Phil November 27, 2008 at 10:26 am

Trickle down economics DID indeed play a major role in growing our national debt. To say otherwise is a direct result of drinking from the fountain of misinformation.

Yes, spending was astronomical. But it is not simply spending that grows the debt. A reduction in tax revenues (failure of trickle down) due to tax cuts also grows the debt. Spending to much has the exact same economic effect as not collecting enough. They both need to be pulled in and they will be under an Obama admin.

It is false to say that economically raising taxes is always bad. That would imply taht lower taxes are always good. The last 8 years would prove otherwise. Without the Bush tax cuts our govt would have had more money to pay the bills (Bush’s bills).

“But when Treasury Department staff simulated the economic effects of extending the President’s tax cuts, they found that, at best, the tax cuts would have modest positive effects on the economy; these economic gains would pay for at most 10 percent of the tax cuts’ total cost. ”

http://www.cbpp.org/9-27-06tax.htm

You are absolutely right – the real question is will Obama spend less? That is the $25,000 question.

Matthew Warner November 28, 2008 at 12:27 pm

Trickle Down economics is a theory that deals primarily with wealth distribution – not with the maximizing or generation of federal revenue.

It seems very backwards to me when people refer to tax cuts as ‘costs’. The same people usually also refer to tax cuts as “giving money to people.” I guess technically one could view it that way. But I think it shows a total misunderstanding of the principles and freedom of this country.

A tax cut is not a cost – as if the government is GIVING us money at a COST to them. It’s OUR money. The American people’s. WE are LETTING the government HAVE OUR MONEY. Taxes are a COST to us. Not the other way around.

The government should minimize that cost (to us) and spend within their means. I HOPE Obama spends less. But nothing in his plan has indicated such a thing. And he seems very eager to solve the deficit problem by taking more money (raising taxes) as soon as he is able far before he desires to truly cut any significant spending. And with all of the economic stimulus being spent right now by the GOV it is going to take some guts and some sacrifice to not grow this debt even larger by the end of his 4 year term. And I don’t think he has it. I hope he does, though. We’ll see.

Phil November 28, 2008 at 7:44 pm

I do understand the failures of trickle down economics. I was simply trying to point out your statement that trickle down economics did not, in part, cause our national debt to ballon, is false.

The National debt is determined by not just what our Government borrows (factor A), but also by what our Government earns via tax revenues (factor B). Two factors, A & B, are added together. The net of the two equals a deficit or a surplus.

Trickle down economics have severely dimished factor B thus leading to a higher deficit, or as it is cumulatively known, a higher National Debt.

As I understand it you think that collecting income taxes is a priveledge that the Government is granted by us. We are letting them have our money. I guess I see it differently.

Collecting taxes is a right of the Government, not a priveledge (see the US Constitution for details). Just as we have the right to bear arms, the Government is allowed the right to collect taxes. I would disagree that we are letting the Government have our money. I think it is more of a civil duty to pay taxes and a right, not a priveldge of the Government to collect them (again, see the US Constitution).

BUT…BUT…while I whole-heartedly agree with you that the Government should spend responsibily and keep out debt in check, so that they don’t have to take as much of our hard earned money via higher taxes, some recent administrations apparently have not considered this a top priority. In turn it makes it harder on future generations who are left to pay the bills (us, our kids, our grandkids).

As far as the economic stimulus is concerned, it is absolutely necessary right now. And you can’t put that on Obama – after all, he’s not even President yet (although I agree with you he sure seems more Presidential right now).

It’s laughable when I hear these bafoons say “Let Citibank fail”. They know nothing. It would be almost comical to see them wake up the next day with zero balances in their Citi checking, savings, brokerage, and 401K accounts scratching their heads saying what happened? You can’t let one of the largest retail banks in the world just fail overnight. Lehman is one thing. Citi is a whole different ballgame. Sheesh.

Hopefully the Obama admininstration will make strides to right the ship. Remember, not all spending is bad. I think spending beyond your means in certain situations can still be construed as responsible spending. I think this is a valid point. Building infrastructure, efficient energy, etc. is good spending. It increases the US standard of living, creates jobs (and keeps them here by default), dimishes energy dependance, etc. . I think the important thing is to cut irresponsible spending. Obama must do this otherwise we are no better off than before. He needs to get this economy going, start paying some bills, and get us closer to even keel so our Grandkids aren’t being dumped on before they are even born.

And speaking of paying the bills – rich folks won’t be happy about higher taxes. They will scream socialism – although I wonder why it was not socialism when the increased wealth was being spread the way of the rich? Another topic I suppose. But why should they be happy about it. Where did all that borrowed money go? Why are we stuck paying these bills? I’d like to see a blog on that!

Matthew Warner November 28, 2008 at 9:30 pm

I didn’t say that trickle down economics didn’t play any part. I just felt it was improper to cite that as THE cause (as you seemed to infer) when trickle theory has to do with wealth distribution. It’s purpose was to help Americans at the bottom – NOT to increase revenue of the federal government (even if that would be a side effect). So any failure of it (which is an entirely different, debatable conversation) was not a failure to produce more money for the federal government…it was a failure to “spread the wealth around” in a far more just and economically healthy way than simply starting another government hand out program – which is exactly what Obama has proposed.

I’m not sure where rights vs privileges came into the convo. I didn’t say the government didn’t have a legal right to collect taxes. I’m simply pointing out that when they do it is OUR money. And when they give a tax cut they are not GIVING US money at some COST to them – which seems to be the mindset of so many politicians these days. It is OUR money that we worked for and we just get to keep more of it – it’s arrogant to act like they are doing us some favor! And what tax money they DO get is because WE THE PEOPLE have given them the privilege of spending OUR money for us in a way that will help our country and make it better.

They have a horrible track record (and I don’t care what administration you look at) of spending our money well. Even the things they do well are wastefully done. That is why the idea of a LIMITED government is what makes our country so special and what has made it so great.

Right now something like 30% of our GDP is GOVERNMENT (state and fed) spending. Obama wants to increase that to over 40% or something. That is insane. I’m not sure how anyone can argue that our government, the most wasteful and inefficient enterprise in the country, with no external checks on it, should be 40% of our GDP. That’s not LIMITED government. And it’s not good for our country.

It’s like saying 40% of everything that we do in this country should be monopolized and provided by ONE company and run by the shadiest leaders of all – politicians. I’m not meaning to paint a grim picture of politicians – but they must have checks and limitations and they must know their place.

We can talk and talk and talk about how we need to balance the budget. The truth is that I’m not aware of one president who actually cut overall spending. They all increase spending and they all increase the scope of government. If the economy does well while they’re in they have a surplus, if it does badly then they run a deficit. That’s the difference.

You can blame trickle theory and past presidents all you want, I don’t care, the bottom line is they need to stop spending money they don’t have. Obama has NEVER accounted for the cuts needed to afford his spending proposals. And he’s NEVER said ONE program he’ll have to abandon (a promise he can’t fulfill) because he won’t have the money. And now we have banks to buy up and a hurting economy that requires more money and stimulus. GOOD LUCK MAN!

If he were a real leader he would be preparing us to sacrifice and to make the cuts needed to balance the budget. But he won’t do that cuz that doesn’t make for immediate popularity. He’s going to sugar coat it and explain it away and you’ll excuse it because he was “handed” this problem and then eventually our 401ks will go back up and we’ll all forget about all of it. Meanwhile the government will have grown to be 50% of GDP, the debt to $3 trillion, and Americans will be more dependent upon the government than ever before and in ways we never imagined. But at least I have my iPhone, gas is under $2, and I can still DVR Lost.

It’s a step in the wrong direction. A giant one. At some point the principles of our founding fathers have to kick back in. Unfortunately, that point always seems to be “later.”

I don’t care what rich people think about it. You’re right, many of them are only going to complain when they get less rich. I’m talking about standing up for fundamental principles that made this country great that are gradually being abandoned and pushed aside in the name of dealing with whatever crisis we happen to be dealing with at the time. And what a coincidence, every solution proposed by a politician happens to give them MORE power and MORE money. Americans have to start demanding more from our leaders and remembering that we don’t serve our leaders, they serve us. They don’t let us have our money, we LET THEM have our money.

And what borrowed money are you talking about? The money owed by these businesses we are bailing out? I would love to blog about it…just need clarification.

Phil November 29, 2008 at 12:31 am

OK, I guess I misunderstood you when you said “trickle down economics did not cause our National Debt”. You may have meant that it was not the primary cause (which I would disagree with anyway!).

I was trying to point out that paying taxes is a civil duty that, in my opinion, is one of the many necessary ingredients that make this Country the great place it is. It funds our military, health, innovation, science, etc. My Uncle would have died 6 months ago without Medicare (which is funded by our tax dollars), which paid for his week long, $50,000 hospital stay. He would not have been able to afford his emergency care without it. And he now lives off of his Social Security. Without it he would have no source of income. And thank God for his Social Security. The reason he couldn’t pay for his medical bills is because he wasn’t financially responsible enough to plan for his retirement and had he self-governed his own social security he would have lost that in the markets as well. Yes, he is solely responsibile for his financial decisions but should he be left to die because the markets collapsed? Would that make this country great? The point is, these are the types of horror stories that good Government prevents. Government can and does work in certain situations. You are absolutely right, it can be ineffecient. But some programs that were started by certain administrations (FDR) have stood the test of time, do function well enough to be practical and useful, and should continue on so that people are taken care of, young or old, sick or well. I happen to believe that is one of the aspects of this country that makes us so great – to a certain extent our Government on the whole really does strive to take care of it’s people, whether it be SS, Medicare, Military, etc. Sure you can argue all sorts of polically driven wasteful spending but there are certain programs that are working. And all of these programs are being threatened right now. And you can argue that some folks abuse Government funded programs. But for every person that abuses them there is someone that needs them.

Look, I am not saying we need to grow GOV any bigger than it is IN THE LONG RUN…but frankly we don’t have any choice in the short term. Obama wants to raise Government spending because it is part of an economic plan to create jobs. I don’t see what is so bad about that at a time like this. You honestly think that lower corporate taxes for Citibank is going to make them hire more people in the next two years? Do you think lower payroll taxes for Ford, GM, & Chrysler is going to lead to job growth? No way. Don’t think so. And these are entire industries collapsing, not just poorly run companies. Automotive, retail, financial, etc. all failing. Lower taxes on defunct, failing companies is moot and pointless as far as job creation is concerned – this is the only thing that will keep us out of the next great depression.

And to say that Obama was pushing higher taxes all along is unfair given the amount of unforseen, horrendous economic data taht has rolled in the last two months. He has adjusted his plan accordingly and in the last two weeks the Global financial markets seem to be telling him he is making good decisions.

Whether you like it or not, Gov spending is the only way to create more jobs right now and potentially keep us out of the depression we are headed for (my guess is by 2010 we will be at 13%-15% unemployent without GOV sponsered new job creation, 15% being depressionary).

I can’t disagree with you that the Government can be very inefficient. But now is not a realistic time to discuss balancing budgets. We are inches away from going through the second great depression. And there is evidence that this one will be worse than the first. And this isn’t the boy who cried wolf, either. This crisis is the real deal – and scary. Never in the history of our country have we seen some of these economic indcators fall off so quickly. This is not a conspiricy theory or an excuse the GOV is using to slither it’s way into a larger portion of GDP. Now is not the time to be up on the soapbox fighting a Government that wants to spend money to create jobs, spend money to help save Citi, etc. Options are none. I would rather be in a position to avoid folks jumping out of buildings now and talk about pulling in spending when we are back on firm ground.

The blog I would like to see: ROI and the National Debt.

This Country has borrowed as astronimcal amount of money the last 8 years. Companies tend to borrow money when they can generate a higher rate of return on their investments (in themselves or elsewhere) than what they borrow at. What is our ROI on the money that we have borrowed and invested in America over the last few years? Did these investments make our military stronger? Did we build our infrastructure? Did we grow our Social Security pool?

Cheers Matt! Sorry so long…

Lori November 29, 2008 at 9:07 pm

Anyone who votes Democrat should forfeit their economic stimulus check.

Matthew Warner December 3, 2008 at 1:17 pm

Phil – if you can give me a dollar value of keeping Americans safe from further terrorist attacks, liberating a country in the middle east that could eventually lead the way for a more peaceful region in the coming decades or centuries, and a whole slew of other intangibles like that…then we could start to calculate the ROI you are asking for.

Phil December 3, 2008 at 4:21 pm

Ok, to be fair you can remove the Iraq war from your ROI calculations. That is just $500B of the $4T spent. You can also put a dollar amount on GOV spend to protect us from future terriorist attacks, i.e. Homeland Security costs, etc. heck I’ll even give you another $250B for all those. I’d like to see ROI on the other $3.25T spent.

For example, under Clinton GOV revenues increased 35% for the $1T he spent. Under Carter they increased 20% for the $.25T or so that he spent. That is one example of some sort of tangible metric. There are many others. It would be an interesting piece indeed.

Cheers

Good luck in your

Matthew Warner December 3, 2008 at 4:53 pm

I wish I had more time right now to even BEGIN fully responding to how skewed and messed up what you just wrote is…maybe somebody else has time to.

But just quickly – you COMPLETELY overlook that CONGRESS pays the bills. Every cent is approved by THEM. You’ll notice that by FAR the most expensive budgets during Bush’s term have come with a DEMOCRAT controlled congress. And then you fail to note that it was 6 out of 8 years of REPUBLICANS controlling congress during Clinton’s presidency. Oh, and not to mention the economic boom that Clinton inherited from the Reagan/Bush terms.

You also didn’t mention the tech bubble burst – a problem inherited from Clinton – and all of the current financial mess which came on a Democratic congress’ watch. So what those things – plus the wars we are fighting – did to the economy and therefore the federal revenue must be taken into account too.

Then add in the energy crisis that Bush largely inherited – (which admittedly NONE of the presidents have done much to fix, not even GORE when he was VP). It’s had a very negative effect on the economy too.

And the fact that you even bring up Carter makes me laugh. The only ROI we got from Carter was the huge realization that we needed to get our act together and elect Reagan 4 years later to fix the mess.

And I don’t know where the heck you are getting your numbers from anyway, so I can’t speak to them. The federal budget is over $2-3 trillion a year lately….so where’ the 4T coming from? And over what time period? Maybe I’m missing something.

Matthew Warner December 3, 2008 at 4:56 pm

Oh ok sorry, the 4T is how much we borrowed. Got ya. My bad. The rest of my argument still applies the same though.

Phil December 3, 2008 at 4:56 pm

Also, just to note, when I say Clinton spent $1T and Bush spent $4T, actually that is not correct. These are the amounts that each grew our National Debt, respectively.

Clinton grew GOV spending 9% while bush has grown it 25% (and still counting). Just wanted to clear up my statements.

http://www.cedarcomm.com/~stevelm1/usdebt.htm

Phil December 3, 2008 at 4:58 pm

*sigh*

Phil December 3, 2008 at 5:02 pm

And Congress has been Republican for 6 of the last 8 years now. Spin spin spin. We can spin all day long.

All I asked for was a blog on ROI for what was spent. No need to discuss political parties, agendas, etc. Just some hard numbers. If you can’t blog it, it’s no big deal.

Phil December 3, 2008 at 5:06 pm

Maybe you should do a blog on accountability instead.

Matthew Warner December 3, 2008 at 5:08 pm

Yeah, you kept saying “spent”! Threw me off. :-)

Dude, I can blog it. I just don’t know how to do it and have it be meaningful to anybody. There are so many factors that play into it that it doesn’t do us much good.

It’s like me saying yesterday I spent $10 on food and went to the park and had a free ice cream – I slept really good. But today I spent $25 on food after going to the hospital and my tummy was SOOOOO full. I don’t know how to draw any conclusions from that. Maybe I’m just not smart enough.

Matthew Warner December 3, 2008 at 5:35 pm

Accountability is a subject I can blog on.

Phil December 3, 2008 at 5:51 pm

One would think that economists have better ways to measure ROI on what our GOV spends than your “Ice cream” methodology lol

One example: what if taxpayers were to lend $700B to buy questionable mortgages and hypothetically get $770B in return. ROI of 10%, not bad. Nice work GOV. But what if they lend $700B and lose everything? Does it then become intangible and unmeasurable?

I would think that return on GOV spend would be a fairly tangible thing but maybe it isn’t as you say.

Hasn’t our GOV ever spent money on anything that we can quantitatively say has made US taxpayers better off? i.e. something that has a high rate of return or even any rate of return at all?

Or is it always just ice cream, good sleep and full bellys? Maybe it’s just ice cream, good sleep and full bellys under certain administrations and tangible stuff under others? After all, you would need something left standing to make your investment tangible, i.e. more dollars, a new bridge, an increased SS pot, etc.

Matthew Warner December 4, 2008 at 10:29 am

I’m sure you’re right for some things or if we take expenses in isolated circumstances and within certain guidelines. And perhaps that would be useful. But economics is not an exact science, it’s a social science.

Let’s take the example of the $700B investment. If we spend it and get none of it back is it considered a 100% loss? Perhaps if we take it in an isolated instance. But likely it is not a 100% loss in reality.

What if we get none of the money back but it happens to keep our economy from collapsing and going into a Great depression and prevents the loss of trillions of dollars in investments? Then is it a 100% loss?

What if the $700B goes to cure AIDS or to help the cause in Africa to lessen suffering of millions of people? Then is it a 100% loss?

What if we spend it to gather intelligence that may or may not help us in 30 years down the road in some conflict that we can’t even conceive yet?

What if the corrupt politicians spending it give it to corrupt organizations who then buy themselves vacations on private jets with the money?

What if we spend it to arm a small band of rebels to help us defeat an immediate threat but then they turn on us and later use it against us?

What if we give $700B to the same scoundrels that got our economy into this mess and then they make matters even worse than they already were by pretending to be fixing the problem but actually are just promising lavish donations to politicians behind the scenes in exchange for some more government hand outs to “fix” this problem, get rich, and move to Tahiti?

What if the economy is so down right now due to other problems – natural disasters, corrupt business practice, terrorist attacks and wars – and so we have to borrow more money to help pay to take care of old people and sick poor people?

What if the extra borrowed money puts us more in debt to China and other countries which slowly strips away our independence and forces us to rely on corrupt and immoral regimes around the world?

What if the money is spent to enable a bunch of moochers who then turn into voters, who then grow bigger and bigger and continue to vote themselves more and more hand outs and eventually ruin our entire country?

What if the money is spent to fund the killing of innocent human life and as a result millions more babies die? What is the rate of return on that?

These are all things that I would think are fairly hard (if not impossible) to put a dollar amount on and are also often intangible in a material sense.

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