Friday, February 29, 2008

Throwing Money at Problems

Dayton, Ohio Congressman Michael Turner brought good news to displaces Delphi workers yesterday that would improve their situation: They would get government rebate checks. President Bush, during a news conference, talked about how giving this money to consumers would "boost the economy." This brings me back to my biggest problem with Republicans: The tendency to throw money at problems. I have covered the details of the stimulus package in a prior blog, so I won't rehash it to death.

Both Democrats and Republicans have been guilty of spewing money for votes. From FDR's big government programs that made the Great Depression a less depressing depression to the current stimulus for votes scheme, the tendency for incumbents and power brokers to spend money to make people feel better about bigger and bigger government in our lives.

Naturally the Democrats, guardians of bigger government they are, have been at the forefront of throwing money at problems. The real push began with FDR, followed by Lyndon Johnson's Great Society, which upped the number of people sucking on the government tit to ridiculous levels. And the programs designed to "help" the poor keep coming, rendering them totally dependent on government money.

I remember back in 2000, I first went on unemployment due to a business closing. In hindsight, I should have never let myself end up unemployed. But at the time I was single, living with my ailing grandmother, and not in great need of money. And here was the government, with virtually no oversight, willing to pay me to look halfheartedly for a job. And I became lazy as hell. I had no motivation to find work, and when unemployment benefits were extended, I raked in more. And with some excessively stupid choices and the addition of two children, I found myself finding programs and free money. Thankfully, I am beginning to dig out of my dependence. It's like a soul-crushing drug.

The GOP, with the cooperation of President Bush, have continued the trend of expanding government by throwing money at things. Our government has grown more over the eight Bush years than the eight Clinton years prior. To be fair, the addition of the anti-terrorist measures have made it more of the challenge. But that still doesn't explain it.

The worst of the worst, though, is earmarks, AKA pork barrel spending, AKA dollars for votes. Finally, the Bush administration has begun to push against earmarks. But it's not nearly enough, and it's not a guarantee it will continue next year. One thing a President McCain (or Obama, for that matter) could do that would impress me, would be to veto anything with earmarks in it. To be blunt about it (as though you expect less), we need a leader who can shrink the size of government. Not decrease the size of the increase, but actually spend less than we did a year ago. We need transparency in spending as well as income (had to fit the FairTax in here somewhere) to reign in the beast. And we have to begin to stop expecting cash from our politician. If we don't, then we can expect to continue to lose control of the government.

No comments: