Media Coverage

The Unhappy Paradox of Santa-Statism

We have now seen President Obama's budget, which he says will force Washington "to live within its means, while at the same time investing in our future." That sounds great, until you see the numbers: The president's budget will increase our national debt by more than $1 trillion next year, and by more than $7 trillion in the next 10 years. So much for living within our means.

The public can be forgiven for believing that budget-cutting will always be an exercise in futility. Politicians respond with the excuse that, well, cutting is hard to do. The real problem, however, is that cutting almost anything is impossible when what passes for governing philosophy is little more than a bromide such as, "The government should do nice things for people." This is essentially what the president espoused in his inaugural address, declaring that government should be judged on whether or not "it helps families find jobs at a decent wage, care they can afford, a retirement that is dignified."


In January 2009, the Pew Economic Mobility Project asked approximately 2,000 Americans the following question: "Do you think the government does more to help or more to hurt people trying to move up the economic ladder?" Despite the economic crisis, 50% said the government hurts and just 39% said it helps. November 2010 voter exit polls conducted by Edison Research for CNN showed that 74% were "dissatisfied" or "angry" with the government.

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Economic Mobility Project

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