Last year, a Princeton professor took to the op-ed pages of the Wall Street Journal to mock House Speaker John Boehner for daring to use the phrase “job-killing government spending.” The thesis of this editorial was that government spending might lead to excessive debt or taxes, and tax money could be “invested” in less than optimal ways, but it was silly for Boehner to suggest that spending in and of itself could be harmful to job creation; the professor, Alan Blinder, suggested that it was completely silly for anyone to believe that.
This got my dander up, so pondering the ways in which Blinder is wrong – in fact, I think absurdly wrong, to every bit the degree he thought Boehner was foolish – became a hobby of mine. I recently put together an updated essay on the ways Big Government spending is inherently damaging to the economy. But President Obama’s sequestration theatrics lead me to think I should have included one more, perhaps ancillary, issue: government spending gives the government more power to make itself grow.
Big spending is perfectly viral in nature; a lot of that money is spent on tactics to either persuade or bully the American people into surrendering more of the private sector to government control. Barack Obama is, on this very day, spending huge amounts of taxpayer money to stage campaign events designed to intimidate his political opponents into giving him more taxpayer money. Obama loves to rail against “special interests,” but Washington itself is the biggest special interest in America, by far. Public employee unions are little more than a mechanism for the government to lobby itself for further growth. The extension of government into every area of our lives has blessed it with countless tentacles it can wrap around our throats, and it’s not shy about squeezing when talk of spending cuts grows serious.
If the sequestration battle ends with Obama getting more tax money from the American people – and thus further contracting an already imperiled private sector – it would be one more alarming indicator that we may have passed the point of no return, and we’re trapped in a cycle of growth giving the State more power to ensure its own growth, until the bloated Leviathan suffers a fiscal coronary and drops dead.