August 26, 2010

Federal spending is the real problem

Letter to the editor

LAUREL COUNTY, Ky. — To the editor:

In your editorial, you seem transfixed by Rand Paul’s comments regarding the drug problem in eastern Kentucky. You quoted him as saying it is not a “real pressing problem.” He did not deny it is a problem, but in comparison to the other problems facing Kentucky and the nation, it is indeed not pressing. If federal, state and local spending is not brought under control, there will not be funds for drug enforcement or any other of the many worthy causes.

As of July 28, federal debt was $13.25 trillion. In 2000, that debt was $5.628 trillion. The Keynesian theory that you spend your way through debt to prosperity did not work in the Great Depression of the 1930s and it will not work now. Most recently it was tried by Japan and has failed. Try it with your family. See if it works. But if you give the U.S. entrepreneur the incentive of lower taxes and fewer regulations, his costs will drop and employment will increase. Others will see his success and wish to compete, thus lowering prices. In addition, innovation will occur, increasing our standard of living through new and better products and services.

You refer to the necessity of federal aid in connection with local roads and highways. In California in times past, all state gas tax revenue by law had to be applied to the construction and maintenance of municipal, county and state roads. At that time, California had the finest and best maintained roads in the nation. Then the state legislature looked at that pile of money and decided it should be placed in the general fund. The result is all of California’s roads are badly in need of repair, but the state has an ever-increasing number of welfare recipients and public employees. Roads don’t vote, but those receiving what used to be state highway money do.

Back in the 1830s the French philosopher de Tocqueville said something to the effect that America would succeed until its people learned they could vote themselves largess from the public treasury. His theory is now being tested. Perhaps federal highway money should be spent on the interstate system in order to promote commerce between the states. That was the original idea. When I look at the pronounced desire of the present federal executive and Congress to promote spending I strongly suspect the real goal is to increase dependency on government. When I look at the past I wonder how we ever overcame the disasters that occurred and then go on to build a great nation. In 1906, an earthquake and fire devastated San Francisco. When I was there a month ago I saw a beautiful city with high-rise buildings and shopping facilities with all the major stores. I wonder how could that have happened without FEMA?

George A. Marshall