Washington’s addiction to spending is hurting the economy

As a child of the 80’s, I vividly remember a bunch of music stars getting together with Dionne Warwick and Stevie Wonder to sing about how every person in the world is interconnected. This was the historic “USA for Africa” fundraising deal, that paid for tons of food that was meant to help children in Ethiopia. As many well-intentioned initiatives, this didn’t end up precisely as the stars wanted.

While some people that really needed food probably did get some, quite a lot of the items that were shipped there didn’t reach anyone. Political instability, and tyrannical leaders prevented the aid from getting to the ones that needed it the most.

Also, there really wasn’t a plan to send anyone to Ethiopia to help the people there figure out ways to find sustainable food sources. So, “USA for Africa” went quietly into oblivion, and the people were still starving in Ethiopia.

This is what we have here in the U.S., when it comes to government spending, particularly in the Obama Administration’s stimulus program of 2009. Discretionary spending on consumption is just like buying food for Ethiopians in the 80’s. Odd that it took scholars to figure out that concept, considering that we’ve already been there many times in private sector charitable endeavors, like the one mentioned above.

But, that doesn’t change the fact that government on consumption will always hurt the economy, versus investment in infrastructure. Of course, someone might want to ask Obama where that plan went, since he spent a great deal of time talking about “shovel-ready jobs,” meanwhile the vast majority of his stimulus plan went to anything but that.

This brings up a question of morality in government — something most would argue is an oxymoron. This isn’t about religiosity, but about basic human morality. Is it “right” to forcibly take assets from one group of people to benefit another group? It’s being argued that the fact that we’ve moved away from a basic understanding of morality that forbids this sort of activity is the root cause of our spending problem.

Perhaps using the term “morality” is doing more harm than good in this situation, especially given the liberal tendency to trivialize anything that could be remotely associated with morality - secular or otherwise.

Going back to the “USA for Africa” example, while many people probably did buy one of the many versions of the song “We Are the World” when it came out, no one was forced to do so. No one is forced to support any charity in America, with the exception of the Federal Government. The argument for spending is that it advances the general welfare, so therefore why shouldn’t it be considered like any other charity?

The bottom line remains, government forcibly separates Americans from their assets for the benefit of others. It’s generous to call that forced charity, since in reality it is theft. If you choose, you’re free to debate the morality of that.


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