Not Critical Enough

Wednesday, July 06, 2011

A few days ago, the following headline from The Weekly Standard caught my eye: "Obama’s Economists: ‘Stimulus’ Has Cost $278,000 per Job." This was no surprise, but sadly, neither was the fact that the following conservative commentary was far too generous towards the Obama Administration:

In other words, the government could simply have cut a $100,000 check to everyone whose employment was allegedly made possible by the “stimulus,” and taxpayers would have come out $427 billion ahead.

Furthermore, ... over the past six months, the economy would have added or saved more jobs without the "stimulus" than it has with it. In comparison to how things would otherwise have been, the "stimulus" has been working in reverse over the past six months, causing the economy to shed jobs.
The fact that simply handing out checks would have been cheaper than what our government actually did is a good way to begin to highlight the absurdity of this program, but it is worse than absurd to stop there. To say that taxpayers would have come out "ahead" -- by any amount -- had the government done that is ridiculous, since such the bill for such a handout still would have amounted to $239 billion.

This is facile, economically, and obtuse, morally. There is no mention of the "broken window" fallacy, in which the unseen consequences of all these people (aka, "taxpayers") being unable to spend their own money are considered, let alone any thought about the propriety of a government forcibly relieving people of their money for any reason.

It is disappointing that, rather than moving on to ask whether we should resort at all to the alleged "stimulus" of passing around money looted from productive Americans, the Weekly Standard elected instead to making the same kind of helpless wisecrack that the phrase, "death and taxes" exemplifies. Men have had to die throughout history, due to our nature, but taxation is a curse of our own invention.

At $666 billion, discounting ripple effects, that wisecrack sounds rather lame to me.

--- CAV

No comments: