American Elephants

With a Big Enough Budget, Everything is Possible, Or Not. by The Elephant's Child
February 4, 2010, 12:56 am
Filed under: Capitalism, Democrat Corruption, Economy, Education | Tags: , , ,

Obama’s budget looks for $2 trillion more in spending and deficits than last year.  Apparently the memo about fiscal discipline went astray.  After he once again criticized President Bush for running $3.3 trillion in deficits over eight years, President Obama’s budget would run $7.6 trillion over what would be his eight years in the Oval Office. He would run up more debt over his eight years than all other presidents in American history from George Washington through George W. Bush combined.

Obama apparently believes that an economy in recession can be magically improved simply by spending lots and lots of money through something called “the multiplier effect,” which has never been known to work.

The frustrating thing is that there are studies that suggest that much of this huge budget will be wasted.  For example, there is $9.3 billion to create the federal government’s 70th preschool and child-care program.  Head Start has been studied extensively, and every study has shown that it simply does not benefit students. The latest study shows zero lasting benefits by the end of first grade.

The big increases for student aid comes in the wake of a 99 percent increase over the past decade.  College costs continue to climb at four times the rate of inflation — more than 400 percent since 1982.  Economists have argues that generous subsidies have contributed to the college cost problem.  We need strategies that can lower college costs rather than raise them.  Giving generous aid to students in the form of loans they can’t pay back makes no sense.

One of the most successful programs of all is the Opportunity Scholarship program in Washington D.C. which gives poor children vouchers to attend the school of their choice.  The teachers’ union doesn’t like vouchers, which they find threatening.  Naturally, that program is canceled in the budget; those already in the program are allowed to graduate, but there will be no more opportunity.

ClimateGate, GlacierGate, AmazonGate and all the rest of the extensive fudging of figures and exposure of the whole “global warming fraud has not penetrated to the White House.  The President is still talking about “Overwhelming Scientific Evidence” with no inkling that it’s all over— exposed.

The globe is not warming. Warming is not caused by carbon dioxide.  There is no reason to control or prevent emissions of CO2.  Oil and  natural gas are in plentiful supply.  They are not “dirty” and so-called “clean energy” such as wind (only produces energy in small amounts when the wind actually blows at the right speed) and solar (only produces energy when the sun shines) does not exist at all, without massive government subsidy. Everywhere in the world, when subsidies are removed, solar and wind energy end.

$8 billion in stimulus funds has just gone to plan and build high-speed rail projects in California and Florida, and other routine passenger-rail projects that are pretending to be high-speed rail.  The rationale seems to be that “other countries have bullet trains and we are falling behind.”  Internationally only two segments have ever broken even — Tokyo to Osaka, and Paris to Lyon.

High-Speed Rail is a romantic notion, again of getting people out of their cars — ending congestion, except that congestion occurs in urban regions, high-speed rail happens between urban areas. Then they get off on the pointless tons of CO2 reduced.  One project involves a line connecting Portland, Oregon to Seattle, Wash.  For a projected $600 million they propose to shave about 10 minutes of a three-and-a-half hour trip by raising average speeds from 49 mph to 51 mph. Impressive.

This seems to fit right in with electric cars that will go 7 miles on a charge.  The assumption is that wonderful American inventiveness will bail out goofy ideas financed by taxpayer money in the middle of a recession.  It’s not so good now, but just you wait.  Investing lots of government money will be just the ticket.

There are proven policies to help an economy out of recession.  They involve eliminating uncertainty, cutting taxes on business to encourage investment in new employees and cutting government spending.

But Utopian dreamers aren’t interested in proven policies.  Romantic dreams are more fun.  All is possible with the “investment” of big sums of government money our grandchildren’s money.

2 Comments so far
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Do deficits matter? Dick Cheney famously told Paul O’Neil that “Reagan proved deficits don’t matter.” The Weekly Standard questioned that assertion in 2005 (, but didn’t really come out strongly against deficits.

Are Republicans okay with deficits when we control the government, but against them when we’re in the minority? We’ve certainly been inconsistent on this subject, and I think it damages our credibility. Or am I missing something?


Comment by Duane Bender

Yes,of course they matter, but getting a bunch of politicians to agree is another matter. When Republicans last took over Congress, they went hog wild with earmarks. I suppose watching Democrats give their districts goodies for years was deeply frustrating. But Republicans, in general, don’t have the same tolerance for that, nor do they expect it from their Congressmen.

I couldn’t even guess what the percentages are, but there are a lot of Republicans to whom that is a really BIG issue, and they vote that issue. The spending on Katrina, for instance, was understandable, but when people saw all those unused trailers and flood victims spending their government money on luxuries instead of their own recovery, it didn’t go over well. If you look at the comparisons, Bush may have not vetoed when he should have, but Obama is in a class of his own!

That said, Bush was in a dreadful position at the end of his term when the economy tanked, and his advisers told him it was on the brink of collapse. The TARP funds were probably correct, but the management of them has not been so.

From what I read, I think the Republicans have learned their lesson. The leaders certainly acknowledge their errors. They’ve got plenty of people keeping an eye on them.


Comment by The Elephant's Child

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