We Can’t Spend Our Way to Prosperity

John Stossel has an op-ed up on the pork-laden “stimulus” package:

President Obama has vowed that no earmarks — special appropriations to benefit particular congressmen — will sully the final package. But in the Wonderland called Washington, things are never what they seem: “The result, as The Associated Press learned in interviews with more than a dozen lawmakers, lobbyists and state and local officials, is a shadowy lobbying effort that may make it difficult to discern how hundreds of billions in federal money will be parceled out”.

What a surprise …

It’s perfectly clear that the recession is a license for politicians to do what they’ve wanted to do all along. All the usual checks on extravagance, weak as they are, have been washed away. Budgets? We’ll worry about that later. Inflation? We’ll worry about that later. …

We should be suspicious when politicians, economists and the media declare a “consensus” and marginalize dissent. President Obama says, “There is no disagreement that we need action by our government, a recovery plan that will help to jumpstart the economy.”

That’s not true. Last week, the Cato Institute ran a full-page newspaper ad signed by more than 200 economists, including Nobel laureates stating:

We the undersigned do not believe that more government spending is a way to improve economic performance. More government spending by Hoover and Roosevelt did not pull the United States economy out of the Great Depression in the 1930s. More government spending did not solve Japan’s ‘lost decade’ in the 1990s … Lower tax rates and a reduction in the burden of government are the best ways of using fiscal policy to boost growth.”

Pennsylvania should be Exhibit A why government can’t tax, borrow, and spend its way to prosperity.