When The Rhetoric Paints You Into A Corner


Conservatives are up in arms over the spending going on in Washington. They’re not alone either. Many of us have concerns about the government spending our money like drunken sailors or, dare I say, like the past Republican Congress. The phrase, “you can’t spend yourself into prosperity” keeps getting tossed around.

The problem with this, at least for Republicans, is that it paints them into a corner with regard to blatant hypocrisy. Anyone in business knows the oldest saying, “It takes money to make money.” Countless businesses apply deficit spending to reach their goals. It’s the way major (and many minor) businesses are run.

You raise your investment capital and you lay out an aggressive plan to get the right talent on board. You invest in a wide marketing campaign across various types of media and go to various industry events. You spend this investment with the clear understanding that your revenue will not carry you through and that you’re going to need to go back to the trough to raise a second, third or fourth round of financing to get to the promised land.

This is common practice in the business world. Why is it then that this same approach supported by capitalistic Republicans suddenly becomes a recipe for disaster when the government takes the same approach? It all strikes me as a huge contradiction. You can argue that the government can’t run itself like a business but we hear conservatives calling for running it exactly like that in every election. Perhaps you believe that the government doesn’t have the talent that Amazon or Google has. That may (or may not) be the case but certainly Washington is filled with some of our very brightest. Much of the Congress is filled with members who’ve been successful in their previous lives and, frankly, by their existence in Congress show that they continue to be in their current vocation. Running for Congress follows the above approach rather similarly. Spend “investor” money like it’s never going to run out and keep raising new capital along the way. No one gets into office by only spending what they’ve earned from the job.

Do I believe all this deficit spending is good? I’m mixed on it. President Reagan thought it was a grand idea. If it was good enough for him why isn’t it good enough for President Obama? Then again I voted for Ross Perot in a bid to get someone in there with real corporate success who would apply bottom-line thinking to the job.

No one advocates to a business that they take money out of their own pocket and spend only what they can afford from the revenues of the business. Well, okay, that approach works if the idea is to run your own local water ice stand but the government, like any large company, isn’t a water ice stand so acting like it should be run the same is just nuts. Conservatives who suggest this speak against their own beliefs and end up looking naive in the process.

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