“It is the millions who live in Washington, D.C. and its perimeter who constitute the total response capability of the nation to an attack and it is those millions who were effectively cut off by the storm and rendered helpless from numerous standpoints,” thundered the owner of the FCNP, a staunchly Democratic newspaper.
His answer: greater centralization of power in Washington. “In this case, the lack of integration of vital elements of our regional infrastructure, from the major utilities to the state and federal government and their agencies, is to blame. By this I do not mean more bureaucracies and cell phones, but I mean the deployment of Homeland Security dollars to the task of undergrounding utility lines, for one.”
But even assuming that would work (it wouldn’t), where would the money come from? The failed Obama “stimulus” plan came and went, spending some $1 trillion the country didn’t have without delivering on its promise to create jobs. Our federal budget deficit tops $15 trillion, with another trillion or so in deficit Obamacare spending on the way. Entitlement spending is on track to almost double by 2050. In just three years, the Obama administration has done more than its part to increase the federal deficit.
So there simply isn’t any cash available to throw at this problem, even if we wanted to do so or thought it might help. But this is an area where we could look to the past for guidance.
In The Washington Post, columnist Robert Samuelson explains that the country is “still paying the price for the greatest blunder in domestic policy since World War II,” when policymakers in the Kennedy administration decided to pursue a policy of growing inflation and deficit spending.
The resulting pile of debt, run up by leaders of both parties across decades, “has limited government’s ability to ‘stimulate’ the economy through higher spending or deeper tax cuts -- or, at least, to have a meaningful debate over these proposals. The careless resort to deficits in the past has made them harder to use in the present, when the justification is stronger,” Samuelson writes.
So a sensible first step would be to “go back,” to a time when political leaders strove for balanced budgets. Doing so would bring down the federal deficit.
The problem isn’t a lack of resources. As Mark Mills at the Manhattan Institute reports, “An affirmative policy to expand extraction and export capabilities for all hydrocarbons over the next two decades could yield as much as $7 trillion of value to the North American economy, with $5 trillion of that accruing to the United States, including generating $1–$2 trillion in tax receipts to federal and local governments. Such a policy would also create millions of jobs rippling throughout the economy.”
There’s no need to go back. Instead, we need to move forward, into a bright energy future. It’s there for us, if we’re willing to work for it.
In Honor of His 103rd Birthday, Here Are The 20 Best Quotes From The Late, Great Milton Friedman | John Hawkins