Is more government the answer?

E.J. Dionne:

Government is the solution

Why don’t Democrats just say it? They really believe in active government and think it does good and valuable things. One of those valuable things is that government creates jobs — yes, really — and also the conditions under which more jobs can be created.

You probably read that and thought: But don’t Democrats and liberals say this all the time? Actually, the answer is no. It’s Republicans and conservatives who usually say that Democrats and liberals believe in government. Progressive politicians often respond by apologizing for their view of government, or qualifying it, or shifting as fast as the speed of light from mumbled support for government to robust affirmations of their faith in the private sector.


Decades of anti-government rhetoric have made liberals wary of claiming their legacy as supporters of the state’s positive role. That’s why they have had so much trouble making the case for President Obama’s stimulus program passed by Congress in 2009. It ought to be perfectly obvious: When the private sector is no longer investing, the economy will spin downward unless the government takes on the task of investing. And such investments — in transportation and clean energy, refurbished schools and the education of the next generation — can prime future growth.


Let’s turn Ronald Reagan’s declaration on its head: Opposition to government isn’t the solution. Opposition to government was and remains the problem. It is past time that we affirm government’s ability to heal the economy, and its responsibility for doing so.

The older I get the more I appreciate the wisdom of guys like Tom Jefferson and Jim Madison. I consider them to be two of the brightest political philosophers that ever lived. They joined with a number of contemporaries like Franklin, Adams, Washington, Marshall and Hamilton to create something unique in history – a government of the people, by the people and for the people.

But our Founding Fathers were never in complete agreement. Some wanted a strong central government. Some wanted no central government at all. Most of them agreed that government is a poor servant and a terrible master. What they came up with was a limited government with enumerated powers. A government whose powers were divided up. A government that was prohibited from doing certain things.

The Founding Fathers realized that some government is necessary but too much government is bad. The real question is how much is just right? It’s been over two hundred years and we haven’t settled on an answer.

Dionne offers us a false choice. Government spending can stimulate the economy. But that does not mean that the best way to do that is hiring more government workers or investing in clean energy. Half a billion dollars was wasted on Solyndra alone. How many jobs were created? How many still exist?

For that same amount of money we could have given 500,000 unemployed people $1000 checks every month for ten months. $1000 may not seem like a lot to some people but when you’re broke it’s a huge amount. Every damn one of them would have spent that money, stimulating their local economies.

The Obama Stimulus borrowed and spent $750 BILLION, and created only 3.3 MILLION jobs. According to my meager math skills that’s nearly $230,000 per job created.

And now they want to do it again.

This entry was posted in Economy, Solyndra, Unemployment and tagged . Bookmark the permalink.

15 Responses to Is more government the answer?

  1. Oswald says:

    Libertarians are nuts, but thinking we should have less government is not the same as thinking we should have no government.

    Personally, I want BETTER government.

  2. angienc says:

    Using Obama’s own words –in context — is raaaaaaaaaaaaacist!!

  3. Oswald says:


    By the way, I’m on Comeback Alert. Obama, and the press, will attempt to paint a new narrative of Obama coming back strong after a bad few weeks.

    This always happens, and to some extent, it will be true: Obama must have some weeks that are better than the last two. The last two have been like a horror movie for him. Everything bad they hoped would not happen, did happen.

    But I’ll be on the lookout for goofy overstatements about this, of wishcasting, of attempting to portray a meh week as a Comeback.

  4. Lulu says:

    Fed: Americans’ wealth dropped 40 percent
    “The net worth of the American family has fallen to its lowest level in two decades, according to government data released Monday, driven by a more than 40 percent drop in their stakes in their homes.”

    “The Federal Reserve’s detailed survey of consumer finances showed families’ median wealth plunged from $126,400 in 2007 to $77,300 in 2010 — a 39 percent decline. That put them on par with median wealth in 1992.”

    We are getting poorer everyday. Wealth is no longer being created but it is being taken from the middle class and handed out elsewhere. This is a republican ad in a few days (or hours).

  5. HELENK says:

    one state says enough is enough to federal government

    Fla to sue dhs for trying to stop voter cleanup

  6. myiq2xu says:

    Did the Stimulus Work?


    Second, even by Keynesian standards, the design of the stimulus bill was such that it could not have stimulated much. That’s because the money wasn’t spent to increase government purchases but to close their budget gaps. Also, the spending wasn’t timely and targeted, and is unlikely to be temporary.

    • threewickets says:

      Veronique de Rugy may be to the other side of Ron Paul. Like Greenspan squared to the Ayn Rand. 🙂

  7. yttik says:

    I really don’t believe government spending stimulates the economy. Sure, you provide somebody with an unemployment check and they’ll spend it at the grocery store, but that’s just a tiny drop in the bucket.

    The only real time Gov spending actually stimulates the economy is when they’re purchasing things for war.

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