Well, yes

When it comes to reviving the economy, tax cuts do not work as well as smart public spending.

This might even be true. But where are we going to get *smart* public spending from given the dullards, pecksniffs and plain idiots that go into politics?

In other news, those disposed to higher public spending suggest that higher public spending will make kittens cuter.

9 comments on “Well, yes

  1. If public spending was so good at reviving economies why was the USSR such an abysmal failure?

    I notice they treat “rebates” as a tax cut which they clearly are not.

    One final thought, they seem to believe that letting people keep their own money is “wasteful”.

  2. I’m pretty sure that I would spend the thousands I’m going to have to fork over in tax much better than Gordon Brown. For a start, not one single fake charity would get a penny. And I’d not spend a penny on outreaching, either.

  3. If those who go into politics are ‘dullards, pecksniffs and palin idiots’ go into politics, have you stopped to comtemplate, just for a second, what a world run by bloggers would be like?

    It would be a ghastly world of hellish chaos – the closest cultural analogy I can think if is the ‘Event Horizon’.

  4. I wonder whether the whole notion of public spending “stimulating” or “kick-starting” the economy is based on an illusion: that the New Deal actually worked.
    I wonder if it accidentally did good because the investments were just what the economy needed. The USA was about to become automotive, airborne and to use far more electrical appliances.
    So more roads, bridges, airports and hydro-electric dams had a huge payback over the next 30 years. If the money had gone into projects like windmills, there would have been no payback, and the project would now be seen as a waste.

  5. We’ve already had our New Deal and it didn’t work.

    FDR’s new deal occupied idle hands.* Public works were labour intensive then and now they aren’t. That’s why rather than a million more people doing useful things like building roads, conservation work, building hydroelectric dams or renewing infrastructure, we’ve got a million more paper pushers, 5 a day coordinators and bin monitors. All this during the decade before we got to the Brownturn in the economy.

    Just how much tax revenue over that time was paid with credit of some description we cannot be certain, but I’d wager it is a substantial amount. That has now evaporated and either has to be replaced with taxpayer debt or Government will have to be trimmed. That the Nation has so little to show for a decade of apparent good times makes me think I know how to spend my money far better than anyone in Government.

    Healthcare is drowning in a sea of bad management, paperwork and fiddled statistics. Education is a basket case as exams get easier and easier. The military is jam packed with fine men and women fighting wars on the cheap who get badly let down by their superiors and masters at Whitehall.

    What do we have then… The Dome. Holyrood (vastly over budget) and the Welsh Assembly(on time and on budget I seem to recall) but no equivalent for England. The minimum wage. Massive amounts of personal, corporate and taxpayer debt. Huge numbers of unelected quangos and government funded charities. Loads of tiny eyesore flats and houses built on flood plains. Barely any new motorways and A roads. Any new towns? Unchecked immigration. Too few prison places. A decaying rail system. Lots more CCTV. Less Police presence on our streets. Plastic plods. A huge array of ‘penalty charges’ which are unjust. Less liberty. Less privacy. Less money.

    Where has all the money gone?

    * Whether it worked or not depends on what you believe the objectives were. Reviving the economy? Well maybe. It was funded by credit and would have been unsustainable if it weren’t for WWII. It was also an era when things got done rather than today’s wrangling for years or decades over new powerstations, roads or military equipment. If you look at it as welfare in a manner which proud men and women would accept it did work.

  6. Gareth:

    One very significant thing you’ve overlooked (in
    considering the “new deal”) is that FDR was able (by confiscating all privately-held gold, making ownership of the metal illegal, and subsequently revaluing from $20.67 to $35) to effectively steal 41% of Americans’ money. That move, as much as anything else, accounts for much of the presumed “success” of the New Deal and also underlies monetary problems from which we (and much of the rest of the world) have never completely recovered. That event (and the relative complaisance of the American public to its carrying-out) was the fait accompli necessary to solidify already powerful doctrine regarding “value” (and the regulation thereof) as an intrinsic role of authority.

    Nothing “new” is going on at present–just the inexorable playing out of the decivilizational process, with nary an obstacle in sight.

  7. Next time someone finds an example of “smart” government spending, it will be the first.

    Sounds great — like all wishful thinking — but it’s never happened before, and is unlikely ever to happen in the future.

    The reason why government fails so often, and so badly, has nothing to do with the quality of people therein. Actually, considering the IQ bell-curve of most government populations (which would mirror that of the population as a whole, albeit with a flatter peak and longer tails) , the real feat is that they do anything half-way well at all.

    One would hope that the leaders of governments would be drawn from the right-hand side of the bell curve, but sadly (Jimmy Carter, call your office), this is not always the case.

  8. Kim du Toit:

    Your sentiment’s OK but not the analysis. Our government has always included plenty of the smart and even the very smart. Carter might not’ve been among the sharpest but lack of intelligence wasn’t his primary deficit nor has it been for any of the others I can remember (back to FDR).

    If you’d really like to understand why our government works so badly, it boils down to the fact that it assigns most of its activity to a particular species of functionary, the bureaucrat, a group singularly incapable of achieving cost-effective completion of the tasks to which they’re assigned (and which the public
    believes can be rightfully expected of them).

    But it is an error of the greatest magnitude to believe that government could achieve more by any other method short of outright dictatorship. Bureaucracy is precisely the most appropriate method and the only improvement possible is simply to assign and entrust fewer activities to the government.

    One of the greatest minds of the 20th (or any other) century, Ludwig von Mises, wrote one of his very best treatises, BUREAUCRACY, on this very subject. Unlike many of his other works, this one is thoroughly readable and understandable by almost anyone; and, once having read it, one will actually know almost everything there is to know of the subject. It’s short, too: 125 pages of only pocket-book size. (And you can read it free over at mises.org).

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