First Rule of Financial Holes: Stop Digging

You have to wonder if maybe Illinois wouldn’t be in such a big budget crisis right now if the state legislature didn’t routinely, and for many years, approve new programs without funding them.

Seems a little risky, no?

In a business, or even a family, non-essential expenses are the very first thing you evaluate. It’s called “cutting the fat”, and it’s how sane people try to balance budgets.

But not in government! Governments have these wonderful ATM-like things called “taxpayers”.

Governments think taxpayers are awesome because taxpayers are too busy leading their lives to learn much about how completely they get ripped off by their governments. And the media likes taxpayers too, as long as they are kept in the dark about how markets work and what taxes do to an economy.

Isn’t it funny how none of the politicians or news stories mention any of this when the going gets tough? No, it’s all about yanking food right out of the mouths of starving children.

Gee thanks, but I’m trying to cut down on my big-government platitudes and insulting emotional appeals meant to trip my trigger and open my wallet.

The Economist notes how widespread it is :

Despite allocations of federal aid to states, services are being cut, state employees are being laid off, and taxes are being raised in order to balance the budgets of local governments constitutionally unable to run deficits. It’s not at all clear that the federal stimulus will entirely compensate for state-level fiscal tightening, which means that American fiscal policy could, on net, be contractionary.

Q: Is there anybody in the room who dares to ask the obvious? That, maybe, just maybe, we’re overspending?

A: Sadly, no. Doing that would require cutting programs that benefit special-interest groups. And the media, which frames the discussion about the role of government in our lives, believes all government spending is inherently a Good Thing.

And so on and on we go. Giving government more and more power by relying on it to fix things for us.

How’s that working out so far?

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