Thursday, February 5, 2009


Money isn't real! Let me say that again: "Money isn't real." I don't mean that it's not real in the sense of being useless, but only in the very specific sense of being both intangible and ephemeral. Money is an acknowledgment of value owed, it's like a promise or a debt token. What it stands for is either a promise to reimburse someone for work they have already done, or a promise of restitution when it is money borrowed against future work.

Work has to produce something worth the promise. One of the problems with government is that most of what they do we could get along very well without but we have to promise them quite a bit for doing not much worthwhile. In fact much of what they do makes the rest of us less effective. I don't know how much time you spend preparing your income tax, but I spend way too much quality time filling out meaningless forms of great complexity so that I can give too much of my hard earned income to a bunch of idiots to waste. Does that sound like whining? Well maybe it is. I don't think there is much government does except national defense that couldn't be done a good deal better by the private sector or not done at all.

This latest stimulous package is over the top. A huge amount of money is going to simply be wasted with the claim (unproven and largely unprovable) that it is necessary to save the economy. Well (surprise, surprise) the government's primary effect on the economy is as a drag. More government meddling will make it more of a drag, so don't expect much stimulus from the stimulus package. It's just a big payoff to the Democratic constituencies. Better they give the people's money back to the people who can spend it efficiently on things that are really needed.

In a few years when they've made a total shambles of the economy maybe we'll be able to salvage something from the pieces. Maybe not.

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