I have a hard time finding a qualitative difference between the idea of borrowing money so government can funnel it into what it thinks will stimulate the economy, and the idea of Virginia borrowing billions of dollars in order to fund new transportation projects that it thinks will stimulate the economy, especially given this latest hyperventilation from the Northern Virginia Transportation Alliance. Stuff like this feels a lot more consistent with the Hugh Jidette spoof presidential campaign than as a serious policy proposal.
“Far from being a drain or burden, new transportation resources return fiscal benefits to taxpayers far in excess of actually dollars invested,” the Northern Virginia Transportation Alliance reports. “The results show that an additional $1 billion invested annually in transportation would create and sustain an additional 18,695 jobs with a total annual payroll of $720.4 million.”
So by this reasoning, if we borrowed eleventeen-hundred gajillion dollars and used the proceeds to build roads and public transit, we’d all become insanely rich. We’d just borrow our way into prosperity, like that was a viable option. It makes about as much sense as the Hugh Jidette proposal to convert the national debt to the metric system and instantly cut it by a factor of 2.54. Seriously, the parallels here are disturbingly uncanny.
Hugh Jidette isn’t concerned with saddling our children and grandchildren with a mountain of debt. After all, what have future generations ever done for us? So what if their taxes will have to double to pay for our debts? And the kids today are geniuses. Have you seen them on their computers? They’ll figure it out.
Creating trillions of dollars in government debt has brought both political parties together in a true show of bipartisanship. It’s a great example of how we can get things done when Americans of all stripes pitch in.
Hugh Jidette wants us to borrow like there’s no tomorrow.
Arguably, so does the current Governor of Virginia. The guy who tells everyone he’s a conservative at every opportunity.
I “get it” that we have serious issues to address, and I “get it” that construction costs would be lower if we contracted work in this economic climate rather than what that climate might look like a few more years down the road. Those arguments make sense when you’re sitting on a pile of dough and you’re trying to figure out how to employ it to best effect, which is decidedly not where we’re at right now. They don’t make a whole lot of sense when you don’t have any dough and start talking about borrowing money in order to do what you can’t currently afford to pull off, and aren’t certain about your ability to service that new debt in the future.
Thanks to the NVTA for serving up such an easy opportunity to throw rocks at their usual silly ideas. I guess if there’s any good to be had out of this, it is by providing such incontrovertible evidence that the NVTA is a total waste of taxpayer dollars that it should be disbanded.
Now there’s an idea that actually makes some economic sense.
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