$646,214 Per Government Job, or $2,000 per citizen?

From The Wall Street Journal, via Cato.org:

The December unemployment rate was only 2.3% for government workers and 3.8% in education and health. Unemployment rates in manufacturing and construction, by contrast, were 8.3% and 15.2% respectively. Yet 39% of the $550 billion in the bill would go to state and local governments. Another 17.3% would go to health and education — sectors where relatively secure government jobs are also prevalent.

If the intent of the plan is to alleviate unemployment, why spend over half of the money on sectors where unemployment is lowest?

… [O]nly a fifth of the original $550 billion is left for notoriously slow infrastructure projects, such as rebuilding highways and the electricity grid.

What a disaster. Government picking winners and losers with our money (after all, it’s taxpayer money they spend reallocate) is a recipe for disaster. This time, they want the recipe in order of some $800 billion, with no real guarantee that it’ll help anyone aside from those who were picked to receive the stimulus handouts.

Or, they can give every man, woman, and child in this country $2,000 to spend. Even if only 1% of that money was spent each week, that would increase commerce by $8 billion each week, without creating additional bureaucracy. Even further, if 10% of that commerce generated tax revenue (a fair estimate considering sales and income tax rates), it would increase tax revenues by $800 million each week.

Or, government can do nothing, and wait for the markets to sort things out.

So, choose your poison.

  1. Government doles out $800 billion to various programs, agencies, and projects that it deems are economically politically worthwhile, thereby increasing the numbers of folks who become dependent on government intervention.
  2. Government gives each citizen a $2,000 one-time tax rebate, which in turn has the conservative potential to increase commerce by $8 billion a week and generate $41.6 billion in new tax revenue. Oh, by the way, $41.6 billion is about 5.2% of $800 billion – which means the tax revenue gained could offset the interest payments on the initial outlay, making it revenue-neutral. Unfortunately, that doesn’t do much to pay off the principal, but that’s OK, we’ve been doing it for years with Social Security, why stop now?
  3. Government can do nothing, creating no long-term government debt and allowing individual effort, success, and failure dictate the winners and losers.

I vote for #3. What say you?

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