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Jan 20, 2009

Obama Talks Responsibility but Walks Irresponsibly

Obama Talks Responsibility but Walks Irresponsibly
01/20/09 - Business and Media Institute by Donald J. Boudreaux, Chairman Dept. of Economics at George Mason University.

[edited] Absolutely no one can responsibly spend $1.5 billion of other people's money.

Barack Obama calls for "a new era of responsibility" but his actions belie his words. By seeking an extra $800 billion for "stimulus," Mr. Obama will generate a typhoon of irresponsibility.

At the blog EconLog "The Stimulus and the Somme", Arnold Kling says:

How many people will have meaningful input in determining the overall allocation of the $800 billion stimulus? 10? 20? It won't be more than 1000. Maybe 500 technocrats will play a meaningful role in writing the bill.

These people will have unimaginable power. Remember that they are taking our money and deciding for us how to spend it. Presumably, that is because they are wiser at spending our money than we are at spending it ourselves.

The arithmetic is mind-boggling. If 500 people have meaningful input, and the stimulus is almost $800 billion, then on average each person is responsible for taking more than $1.5 billion of our money and trying to spend it more wisely than we would spend it ourselves.

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