It’s unclear how more new lawyers would help New York. After all, its most famous lawyer, Eliot Spitzer, became governor by suing everyone in sight. That didn’t work out so well when it turned out he was the one who felt free to flout prostitution laws.
Of course, our federal government is making the same mistakes New York State is -- just on a grander scale. Earmarking is as popular in the District of Columbia as it is in Albany’s Capital Region -- and even more dangerous. The federal government is making more promises than any state, and they’re promises it cannot afford to keep. This matters in the long- and short-term.
In the long-term, to keep Social Security, Medicare and Medicaid afloat, lawmakers will eventually have to choose between slashing spending on every other federal program (including national defense), cutting retiree benefits (good luck getting re-elected) or raising taxes (to a level that would destroy the economy). That’s why the time to slash spending is now, while we still can.
Meanwhile, in the short-term, the National Association for Business Economics says 45 percent of the economists it surveyed expect slow economic growth the rest of the year. Especially in an election year, that’s sure to encourage politicians to “do something,” such as create make-work projects to supposedly spur economic growth. They wouldn’t work, but they would be costly.
In 1777, American fighters repulsed a British invasion at Saratoga, a victory that eventually brought France into the war on the colonial side and led to our final victory. Decades later Americans were smart enough to open the first horse-racing track in North America here.
Yet if Joe Bruno’s triumphant bus tour is any indicator, we’re still a long way from winning the war against wasteful pork-barrel spending -- at both the state and federal levels. Overspending by any government is a gamble -- one that taxpayers lose.