By Tom Rhodes 2/27/2012
Liberals tout the seasonally adjusted employment numbers being improved as proof of the success of government economic stimuli. They conveniently ignore the fact that many more millions of people are "permanently" out of work so are no longer counted as unemployed, than there have been new jobs created. The fact is that the government "adjusts" the numbers to send the correct political message. The simple fact is that we have more people living in the USA than we did when Obama took office, and the total number of people employed is significantly lower. That is not job growth, Period. The method the government uses to count employment, etc. are continuously changed to reflect the political message the government wants to portray. If you want real numbers and an honest comparison look at the numbers and data from John Williams' Shadow Government Statistics. The basic problem we have is not that there isn't enough government stimuli but that the ruling elite are addicts. They are addicted to spending money they don't have.
What is needed is solid foundational jobs, production, and consumption based on real economic availability and demand. Artificial demand won't increase availability, nor entice those who produce to produce more.
People have been taking and using artificial stimulants longer than we have been recording history. Whether it be cocoa leaves or cocaine, coffee or amphetamines, drugs to keep energy levels unnaturally high have been used by people forever. They are not bad in and of themselves, a temporary stimulus to complete a task is not a bad thing, provided you don't continuously use them in place of food or sleep.
Consider cocaine, it can give you a short-term boost, but it can also cause your hart to race so intensely that it explodes. There is no nutritional value to artificial stimulants. They just accelerate the consumption of energy reserves that your body would not normally use if left to natural metabolic mechanisms. It does not create those reserves; replenish those reserves; sustain those reserves; it just uses them up. To be health you need normal amounts of food and sleep. When stimulants wear off, you either crash or take more. The long term effects are usually very bad, a wasted withered body that needs slow long term, and costly, recovery, or worse yet death. Nobody would claim or accept that being strung out on coke or amphetamines is healthy, wise, or effective way to live.
Economic stimulus doesn't work for the same reason. Economic stimulus is based on the same kind of thinking people who use drugs to stimulate their bodies for a prolonged time. It's based on a completely wrong notion of what spurs prosperity.
Liberals are now using a short time span graph, to illustrate that new European austerity programs (actually the ending of artificial stimulants to the economy), are actually hurting their economy. Have you ever seen a drug addict and what happens when the drugs are cut off whether by benevolent hospitalization, or by self-induced privation? They don't look or feel good, in fact for a period of time it is much harder and worse for them than if they had stayed on the drugs. Would anybody argue that the short term hardship, pain, and misery the drug addict suffers during rehabilitation is worse than continued drug dependence, which inevitably leads to self destruction.
Government stimulus through deficit spending does the same thing for the economy that stimulants do for the body. It takes value-added production that serves markets that want the goods and are able to purchase them to maintain real healthy and sustainable economic growth. When for various reasons not enough of that is happening, economic growth will slow or regress for a short period of time. Nobody enjoys that period of time, but necessary corrections are a necessity from time to time.
We sometimes refer to the economy as an engine. Adding nitrous-oxide and a performance exhaust to a car engine that has leaky valve or two may give that weakening engine temporarily power boost, but will also lead to far greater damage taking a far longer downtime to recover from needing to totally rebuild the engine than if the time was taken to do the more minor head work.
Drink too much on New Year 's Eve and you have a hangover New Year's Day. You can avoid that hangover if you stay drunk. Eventually you have to sober up, failing to do so is self destructive. The government is replacing the value-added, market-serving production that generates true economic growth with the superfluous spreading of borrowed money. Just like staying drunk to avoid a hangover, it doesn't work.
Not only our economy but the world's economy is past the point where a small temporary stimulus will provide an energy boost to get over the hump. Our federal government can "stimulate" our economy back to health. That's why Bush's TARP, and Obama's $862 billion stimulus were both boondoggles. Effective and lasting economic health will not return until we release the productive sector of the economy. The productive sector of our economy is the business sector, investing, taking risk, and succeeding and failing based on how they serve the people. The government needs to quit trying to pick economic winners and losers; to get out of the way of energy production; to cut taxes on businesses and individuals; and to stop treating everyone who earns a profit like a felon.
Our economy on stimulus is only getting us a federal debt now larger than the size of our entire economy, and a government addicted to spending, just like an addict is addicted to drugs.
From one of the most famous and memorable PSA's ever created came the phrase "Your brain on Drugs." The first version of this PSA, created in 1987, showed a man who held up an egg and said, "This is your brain," before picking up a frying pan and adding, "This is drugs." He then cracks open the egg, fries the contents, and says, "This is your brain on drugs." Finally he looks up at the camera and asks, "Any questions?" It was later shortened to this:
An economy running on borrowed money used to create unproductive artificial stimulus is analogous to your brain on drugs. Self destruction is the inevitable result if we don't stop; just look at Greece.