Government Spending: Really Nobler than Purchasing Private Campaign Ads?

Andy Borowitz, far-left blogger for The New Yorker and ostensible comedian tweeted something I’m sure he thought sounded profound for at once aping NPR Avenue popnewspeak and managing to be concise enough to offer it in full sentences with grammar switched on in fewer than 140 characters. Then again, maybe it was ghost-written by his intern. At any rate, Andy opines, “Half a billion dollars have been spent on campaign ads so far. It’s a good thing our schools and roads are in great shape or I’d be mad.”

Now possibly to his credit or upon a strange moment of intellectual honesty for the left, Borrowitz realized just how much the Obama campaign is spending this year. At any rate, the tweet was deleted. Also here.

Naturally, there is a fundamental problem with Andy’s tweet (and many similar voices echoing similar things). Beyond the fact it would ignore ad spending for candidates they prefer, we spend a massive amount in education-related areas. Two glaring examples: paying absurd pensions to union teachers in New York who perform poorly but could never be fired and on textbooks that can’t even get major facts of history right (note that in Virginia, these books are approved by not one, but five “scholars.”

Exactly how many highly-paid bureaucrats does it take to screw in a light bulb?

In terms of roads, the nation spends a boatload on them but local municipalities often use corrupt contractors – often union – that do a sloppy job because they know they’ll never lose the gig thanks to bribes and kickbacks to elected officials. The problem isn’t money but character. We thus find Andy’s argument of comparability incongruent with the spending that goes on in the real world to pay for-profit media companies to cover their costs including people who are hired who do actual work to keep their jobs. Other than the absurd bias most media outlets propagate, the business end of these entities actually benefits Americans up and down the food chain. And the same capitalist mechanisms are helping new media gain a powerful foothold, as well. In a free market, people overwhelmingly choose Fox News over MSNBC, for example.

What Andy is essentially (at least in effect, since I don’t know him) arguing is that the proven road to success, i.e., freely exchanging capital to build the free market and the marketplace of ideas is somehow secondary to the socialist model of paying off corrupt, useless government employees who’ve failed everywhere they’ve been placed in the driver’s seat.

So while I cringe to use this cliché, the takeaway is that there can be few things more American than using the free market to amplify your ideas in the free marketplace of ideas. Is money in the government’s hands really better-spent than money in the private sector? I think not.

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