We’re all Democrats now


In a recent piece for Bloomberg, Amity Shlaes points out that modern-day natural disasters have helped to turn us all into Democrats. Expecting the government gravy train to come to the rescue any time a major storm turns a significant portion of the American population upside down has become the new normal, even among so-called anti-big government proponents. Shlaes makes the case, using the Holland Tunnel as an example, that state governments—and in many instances, private investment—have built the vast majority of American infrastructure. As Shlaes puts it: “States sought the blessing of the federal government, not its presence.”

Those days are long gone. States now begin petitioning the fed even before storms hit. Senators and Representatives brag to their constituents (most notably around election time) about how much federal money they have funneled back into their home state. Shlaes writes:

Looking over American history, state or city authority in infrastructure was often the rule. Except during wars, state governments played a larger role in the economy than Washington. That relationship only reversed in the mid-1930s, with President Franklin Roosevelt’s New Deal.

Note that paragraph well. Before the New Deal, state governments spent more on infrastructure than the fed. After the New Deal, however, that all changed. Could this possibly have been by design, or was this simply the way things worked out? Surely this wasn’t intentional, right? Yeah, right.

By comparing federal government spending to floodwater, Shlaes makes the obvious point that once the federal government has spent a particular amount of money, that amount becomes the new budget consideration for the next year. In other words, once government spending rises, it never recedes. The “high-water mark” for government spending is never visible because the spending only continues to increase:

Read More at . By Eric Rauch.


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