In a recent letter to the editor, Urs Schuler contends that government spending is the path to prosperity, and that Tom McClintock is wrong when he warns that government profligacy is harming our economy.
Let’s put this to the test. Over the past four years, the Obama administration has borrowed more than 5 1/2 trillion for stimulus spending — about $17,651 for every man, woman and child in the country. Mr. Obama is spending more as a percentage of GDP than at any time except World War II. If spending and borrowing were the path to prosperity, we should be enjoying the most prosperous era in American history by now.
Mr. Schuler is right that government spending for basic public works like roads, dams and ports is an important foundation to economic prosperity, and McClintock has been a leading voice in advocating for such projects both in Sacramento and Washington. The problem occurs when funds which once went to such projects are diverted instead for income transfers or grotesque scams like Solyndra which have become a hallmark of this administration.
He is dead wrong that the Roman Empire spent its way to greatness — quite the contrary. Roman Imperial spending and the confiscatory taxes and monetary inflation that supported it ultimately destroyed its economy, bankrupted its treasury and left it open to invasion and collapse. The decline and fall of the Roman Empire is a warning, not a model.
Some people apparently can’t tell the difference between what Jefferson called a “wise and frugal government” advocated by McClintock, and the sprawling welfare state and crony-capitalism practiced by Mr. Schuler’s candidates. Fortunately, we have a representative like Tom McClintock who can. We need more of them.