Wednesday, November 04, 2009

money for nothing

In my dissertation (eventually to be my book), I write (amongst other subjects) about economic policy in the eighties. Reagan's economic philosophy was, on the whole, kind of weird. If we give rich people more money, the theory goes, they will spend more money, and the people who get that money will in turn spend, and so on, so forth. And the only thing that will prevent this spending is taxes, so we're going to lower tax rates for the rich only. Besides, the logic (?) goes, all this spending will generate more work, which we then can tax, which will pay for the runaway government spending which we hate but will do absolutely nothing to stop.

It's an interesting concept, but for it to work, one that has to assume no one rich will hoard money or no one poor will pay bills. When questioned about the logic of Reaganomics, White House budget director David Stockman (I think) said something to the effect of "if people believe in this, it will quit reporting bad news." Yes, this economic theory is based off giving people money and hoping everything works out perfectly. What bad could possibly result?

Fast forward to the present. Credit card debt levels are staggering. We've just gone through a lending crisis. Thanks to our last president (whose VP said "deficits don't matter"), our country's debt levels are record-breaking. Moreover, when our current president tried to use government money to fund projects, people refer to him as the communistical Marxist Commie Antichrist....the same people, it should be noted, who loved W simply mailing them checks.

We had an election yesterday, and my state in particular has lost its collective mind. In Ohio, our voters apparently decided that casinos, which push the "you can get rich without working" myth, are exactly what our state needs. They also decided that, rather than fund some programs to help veterans, we were just going to cut them a check. Apparently, free money is now the answer to everything. Sigh.

You see? Reagan is to blame for everything.

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