“Something for nothing” mentality won’t stimulate the economy

Having been occupied in preparation for testifying before the Health and Human Services Committee on the economic impact of Medicaid expansion, I hadn’t had a chance to comment on another hare-brained “stimulus” scheme proposed by Nick Estes, formerly of NM Voices for Children (and a former debate opponent).

Estes, writing in the Albuquerque Journal on Sunday argued that the “Federal Reserve should create new money and transfer it to the government’s spending account. The government can then spend the money…without new debt.”

This “something for nothing” mentality has always puzzled me. It is quite similar to the reaction to my testimony from the mostly liberal legislators in Santa Fe who were eager to get their hands on the “free” money coming to New Mexico due to Medicaid expansion.

I’m not sure how the government “printing” money is going to generate real prosperity, nor do I understand how expanding an ill-conceived welfare program is going to “stimulate” the economy even if New Mexico is able to temporarily loot the other 49 states.

This “something for nothing” mentality is closely-related to the entitlement mentality so rampant on college campuses these days. But the entitlement mentality didn’t begin on modern college campuses. These emotional children learned to expect something for nothing from their parents and grandparents at least as far back as the advent of Social Security. That program’s first recipient Ida Mae Fuller paid just $25.75 into the system, but received $22,888.92 in benefits.

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5 Replies to ““Something for nothing” mentality won’t stimulate the economy”

  1. Hi Paul,

    Would be interested in your response to my Letter to the Editor of the LCSun-News today “Stock buybacks a threat to wages, investment.”

    Ties in with “Something for Nothing”

    1. Lee, here is a link to your letter. I actually think it is the inverse. It is the fact that the economy remains weak and with so few opportunities to grow that stock buybacks are seen as the best use of money for businesses. The Federal Reserve, Obama’s anti-market policies (especially ObamaCare), and the growing federal debt, all make companies leery of hiring and investing. Stock buybacks are seen as a good way to goose stock prices. Ultimately, the buybacks are more effect than cause in my view.

      1. You do understand that executives pay is based upon the price of their stock. Do you believe the private sector can build infrastructure and educate citizens without government involvement? If so, how?

        1. Not all executives pay is based on stock price. And some businesses make stock price a lesser or greater factor in terms of executive pay. The private sector has built infrastructure throughout the US and continues to do so. Private neighborhoods are one example. Most European “interstate-style” highways are privately-managed toll roads.

          In terms of education, there is absolutely no reason for the government to own and operate the schools themselves. We can debate financing of education, but it makes no sense for the government to run the schools. Lee, you have some libertarian leanings, I thought. This is all basic stuff, right?

          1. I believe in the least possible government with local control preferable. The CRS has identified 83 overlapping federal welfare programs at a cost of $746 billion with an additional $283 billion contributed by state and local governments. We can examine the reasons for this grotesque phenomenon at another time.

            EDUCATION: When fathers became redundant, no longer necessary for the support of their children due to the government’s decision to give financial assistance to women and children, the Black family deteriorated (now extended to Hispanic and White families). Children were exposed to daily atrocities rendering them traumatized and unfit to learn how to become responsible adults. Public schools were challenged as never before. They alone were deemed responsible for the failure to educate. Prisons thrived.

            One way Local communities can devote more resources to solving the absentee father crisis is by utilizing the talented corps of retired adults, many of whom are desperately seeking meaningful activity, who can organize as volunteers to assist teachers with tutoring, mentoring and role models.

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