Stimulating Our Way to Rock Bottom

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With
attention turning to the next big economic stimulus package, questions
are still swirling about our economic troubles. How did we get here?
How do we get out? As usual, Washington has all the wrong answers.
According to many politicians, we got here by not spending enough,
not consuming enough, and not regulating enough. Now government,
like some mythical white knight, is going to ride in to save the
day by blanketing the economy with dollars, hiring an army of new
bureaucrats, creating make-work jobs, and sending everyone some
form of a bailout check. The debate seems to focus on whether this
will cost enough to save the economy, or if this is just a “down
payment” with much more government spending to come. Talk like
that would be comical, if the results weren’t going to be so
tragic.

The results
will be worsening economic woes until we learn our lesson. But instead
Congress is behaving like drug addicts who must hit rock bottom
before they are ready to face reality. They are playing foolish
games with the economy now because they are thinking only of political
expedience. This talk of job creation is a perfect example.

Contrary to
the belief of many, the goal of the economy is not job creation.
Jobs can be a sign of a healthy economy, as a high energy level
can be a sign of a healthy body. But just as unhealthy substances
can artificially give the addict that burst of energy that has nothing
to do with health, artificially created jobs just exacerbate our
problems. The goal of a healthy economy is productivity. Jobs are
a positive outcome of that. A “job” could be to dig a
hole one day, and fill it back up the next, or perhaps the equivalent
at a desk. This does no one any good. But the value in that paycheck
ultimately has to come from taxing someone productive. Some think
this round-robin type of economic model is supposed to get us somewhere.

Politicians
and bureaucrats have already done their fair share to ensure that
jobs in the private sector are prohibitively complicated and expensive
to create. They are now shocked that the economy is shedding jobs,
and want to simply create hundreds of thousands of jobs to make
up for the job losses, through another so-called economic stimulus
package. The private sector must be permitted to do that, but instead
they are massively burdened with taxes and webs of red tape and
regulation. Washington’s band-aids will only prolong this agony.
The Austrian school of economics teaches that only a free market
economy, unencumbered by onerous government controls, creates long-term
prosperity. Politicians, however, tend to be notoriously short-sighted.

I am left with
these questions — who is going to be left standing to tax in
the private sector to pay for all these public sector make-work
jobs? Is Washington really to be considered some sort of savior
for creating unproductive jobs in place of the productive jobs they
eliminated?

We are at an
economic dead-end and those in power are in denial. The truth is,
our economic problems are due to loose monetary policy, central
economic planning, and the parasitic expenses of government. Unless
we assess these problems honestly, we unfortunately have a long
way to go until, like the junkie, we hit rock bottom.

See
the Ron Paul File

January
14, 2009

Dr. Ron
Paul is a Republican member of Congress from Texas.

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