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Too much government spending – on what?

There’s a distinction between running to deficits to grow the federal payroll and running deficits to let contracts to private industry that will hire workers to fulfill those contracts.

Consider some of the possibilities:

If I spend money it to invade a country I don’t have to . . . or even just spend it to build war planes the Pentagon doesn’t want . . . almost all would agree that’s “bad” spending, not worth borrowing to do.

If I spend it to expand the size of the government payroll, almost all would agree that requires a hard case-by-case look. Do we need the additional employees? Are we paying more than necessary to attract them? Can we afford the borrowing it will take to sustain them?

If I spend it (through tax cuts or any other way) in an effort to get people back to their pre-recession spending on things they don’t really need and, in the scheme of things, can’t really afford, most people would agree I am not fundamentally shifting the economy in a healthier direction.


If I spend it to contract with private industry to build 100,000 windmills (where once we built 100,000 tanks), or to modernize infrastructure, weatherize homes, dredge waterways, seed innovation and rejuvenate our manufacturing sector – well, to me, at least, that’s a very different thing.

Either way, the federal budget – and the deficit – are huge. But where the Republican solution is: tax cuts! . . . which means borrowing to fuel consumption we can’t afford . . . the Democratic solution is (broadly speaking): infrastructure! . . . which means borrowing for investments we can’t afford not to make.

See . . . THE CHOICE, above.


Daniel Stone, MD: “Warren [in his comment Friday] points out is that he’s Libertarian. That’s what people call themselves when they can afford their own healthcare, food, a roof over their head and don’t want to pay for anyone else’s. There are no Libertarians in the bread lines.”

☞ Many of the smartest, most successful (generous!) people I know – for many of whom I have affection and admiration – are libertarians. So I hesitate to post Dr. Stone’s comment. But I think he’s right. Not to start our whole thread again (he says, as he starts his whole thread again), but if this topic interests you, and you unaccountably missed my May 24 post, you’ll find my main argument here.


There’s new management at our dredging company. This analyst is not thrilled with the cost of the severance packages we shareholders are paying for. But my sense is that this is good news, the costs notwithstanding, and the stock is a much better buy or hold here at $4.76 than it is a sell.

Tomorrow: The House Rules


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