Wish list for spending
is costly political hubris
Just a couple of points about the Democrats' dream of ramming through a $3.5 trillion wish list of progressive fantasies to be paid for (or more likely not) over 10 years.
The first relates to the refrain that this is the last best chance for their party to truly transform America. When in this country’s history has clinging to the slimmest of majorities in the House and a tied Senate justified transformative partisan policies?
The larger point relates to the sheer size of this proposed spendapalooza. It would be one thing if this proposal came at the end of a prolonged period of fiscal frugality, but the reason the public doesn’t blanch at the mention of trillions of dollars is that such profligacy has become so commonplace over the past few administrations.
And regardless of whether, at least on paper, the spending can be paid for with 10 years’ worth of new taxes, there is an incredible hubris in any politician’s belief that he and his party know best how to spend tomorrow’s dollars today. Saddling our children with higher taxes in the future to pay for what today’s officeholders decide is important handcuffs tomorrow’s taxpayers when they must address all of the unforeseen problems, foreign and domestic, in their time.
In the not-too-distant past, politicians understood the limits on their abilities to anticipate tomorrow’s problems and to require future generations to pay for their current spending. Such old-fashioned thinking now has mostly disappeared. But if such fiscal prudence were truly outdated, why not just spend $10 trillion or $20 trillion or $100 trillion of our children’s and grandchildren’s tax dollars?