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Most Senators Are Economic Morons

On Friday the Senate approved a Coburn amendment 73-24 that states,

None of the amounts appropriated or otherwise made available by this Act may be used for any casino or other gambling establishment, aquarium, zoo, golf course, swimming pool, stadium, community park, museum, theater, art center, and highway beautification project.

For the purpose of a Keynesian stimulus it doesn’t matter if it’s spent on a park or a highway beautification project.  Any spending is better than tax cuts, you could pay people to dig holes and fill them up again and that would be superior to tax cuts.  Spending on parks or museums would also be better than military spending, which most of these fools have no problem with, because military spending tends to be very inefficient at creating jobs.

A concept that’s important here is that of positive externalities.  A park or a museum or a theater or an art center is a positive externality for the community it resides in.  It brings in tourists and gets them to spend money.  People go to Chicago or Paris or New York just to see the theaters and museums, they go to Banff, for, well Banff. The museum or theater or art center doesn’t get all the money, but the community does and is richer for it.  And, for the record, the original New Deal spent a good chunk of money on both the arts… and parks.  This is a good time to spend on both, since they will be there for Americans essentially forever and they’re cheap right now.

Money spent on these things is money spent well.  It produces jobs and it has a positive effect on the community.  As with the "centrist" fools who want to cut money for schools, childhood nutrion, and food stamps (food stamps have the single highest stimulative effect of anything in the bill) and add it to defense spending, these people are either morons or putting their personal political preferences ahead of the country’s good.

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Ian Welsh

Ian Welsh

Ian Welsh was the Managing Editor of FireDogLake and the Agonist. His work has also appeared at Huffington Post, Alternet, and Truthout, as well as the now defunct Blogging of the President (BOPNews). In Canada his work has appeared in and BlogsCanada. He is also a social media strategy consultant and currently lives in Toronto.

His homeblog is at