Trying to Spend Our Way to Prosperity

In his State of the Union Address, President Obama spoke briefly about cutting the deficit but gave far more attention to ambitious new spending programs to revive the economy. He still hasn’t accepted a common sense notion most Americans understand: you can’t borrow and spend your way to prosperity. Even if deficits were reduced, every new dollar of government expenditure takes money for the public sector out of the private, for-profit economy. Spending for roads, bridges and other useful infrastructure–let alone “investment” in scams like high speed rail and solar power– still means increased burdens on taxpayers and less money for business to expand and to create long-term jobs. The key question before the country is whether to continue growing government and imposing new burdens on the private economy, or reducing the cost of government and giving business the chance to breathe and grow.

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