Thursday, June 21, 2007

Fools know Latin 

If they see it in a movie, that is.

David Strand, who describes himself as a DFL activist in Aitkin, asks in Latin where Governor Pawlenty is taking Minnesota.
At the election of Minnesota Republican Party officers, Governor Tim Pawlenty boasted about using vetoes 55 times during the 2007 Minnesota legislative session. It is remindful of the tale of the Roman Emperor Nero who played the fiddle while Rome burned.
Been a long time since we heard "YOU'RE SCHOOLS ARE BURNING!!!" But we have in Mr. Strand someone else who thinks the measure of how much society cares is how much money it takes from taxpayers.
It might be appropriate to put the question "quo vadis," Latin for "where are you going?" to Governor Pawlenty. Since he claims that his vetoes saved Minnesota from the taxing and spending Democrats who control both state houses, where does the governor think he is taking Minnesota?

There is much evidence to answer the question. First, the size and scope of government is normally determined by public policies.
Utter and complete hogwash. Gordon Tullock describes how little of government spending goes to provision of public goods, and how much is caught up in rent-seeking. Unless one feels the size and scope of government is determined by how much redistribution it does, there is little in the data to support this claim. Research in the international field by Alberto Alesina et al. (2000) , and those referenced by Dan Mitchell also show that after a point, government spending is a drag on growth.
All evidence shows that larger public sector resources translate into success of public policy goals. For example, nations at the high end of public spending have the best rates of most critical measures of human decency. Examples are poverty, homelessness, infant mortality, teen motherhood, abortion rates (especially for teens), violent crime, public school graduation rates, K-12 test scores, election participation, prison incarceration, average life span, energy consumption, modern public transit and economic mobility, the direct measure of how equal opportunity really is.
Did you notice what was left out?

Wealth creation. About this, Strand offers not a strand of discussion. He attempts to say that if you oppose giving government more "resources" makes you in favor of greater poverty, lower test scores, etc., a logical fallacy. It never seems to dawn on him that before you can have additional "resources" someone must create them. How do you expect to get them? By deciding that the engine of progress is to be chained?

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