In the rush to get a new spending bill out of the congress as soon as possible, proponents of the massive bailout seem to have overlooked a fundamental point: the government cannot possibly cure what ails the American people by pouring more money on the problem.
Speaking before a cheering crowd in Florida last week, one would have thought the President was announcing a new victory in the War on Terror, or a new milestone in economic growth. The fact that the President had come to deliver some sobering news about the state of the economy seemed to have been lost on the crowd, who roared with glee even before the President had a chance to lay out his analysis of the Economy’s woes (which he did with remarkable candor), and seemed to ignore the fact that the proposed stimulus was being funded almost purely out of massive government borrowing. It may be remiss of me to point out the obvious but isn’t spending money we don’t have what got us into this financial debacle in the first place?
The very notion that we can borrow our way out of the recession seems to be the latest diversion these days, but it is bound to have unintended consequences. For starters, it sends the wrong message to consumers and businesses in our economy that are already leveraged to the hilt in debt. It sends the message, whether intended or not, that spending profligately beyond our means will ultimately save us from the results of having lived beyond all measure of financial prudence as individuals and as a nation. It fails to set the stage for a new approach to personal and national fiscal discipline, and instead removes the responsibility for our actions from ourselves to our children or our grandchildren, both of whom we are counting upon to pay the cost of our collective love affair with credit.