Monday, October 3, 2016

Hey! Why Not Lend Your Pension Money to Fund Government Infrastructure?

The governor of the State of Washington and the premier of British Columbia just met, according to the New York Times. And what do you think they talked about as a way to tie Seattle and Vancouver into the Next Big Tech Corridor.

They proposed a $30 billlion high-speed rail link.

Oh great.

But the Euros have a better idea. According to Phil Gramm, once a US Senator from Texas, since the Euro governments are all tapped out, debt-wise, they want to tap the insurance companies to fund infrastructure investment.

Oh great. If I were a Euro I would go straight into the streets to object. Because if they don't the governments will spend their retirement savings on climate change boondoggles. If they are lucky.

Hey! Did you see that the vitally important wind-farm infrastructure in lefty South Australia just crashed the electric grid with a total blackout? Who could have seen that coming?

All this leads me to suggest Rule One.

Rule One: No government may borrow except to fund a war -- a real shooting war, not a war on poverty or a war on global warming.

Everything else should be funded privately. Of course, there are important government functions and buildings that need to be built. Great. But if a government building needs to be built, let it be built by a crony capitalist with private money, with the government paying for it out of today's tax revenue. Then, if the project is a white elephant the risk is taken, as much as possible, by the private sector and the evil crony capitalist.

So we want to build a high-speed rail link between Seattle and Vancouver? Let it be a private venture. If eminent domain is necessary to acquire the right-of-way, then let the government acquire the land. If there needs to be a subsidy to make the project viable enough for risk investors to put up the money, then let the subsidy be paid out of tax revenue.

There is a real advantage in crony capitalism for infrastructure investment. It is easier for the politicians to walk away from the crony capitalists if the project goes south. It is impossible to dump the US Postal Service, but who cares about FedEx and UPS? It is impossible to reform government education because of Our Teachers. But who cares about private colleges? Sue 'em and run them out of business; the Obama administration just did, and the liberal media is cheering it on as it deals with "shady for-profit colleges."

The point is that all government programs, every one from the Defense Department down to the local public utility, is a bloody mess of waste and failure. Of course they are. If there was money in it, the private sector would have picked it up and made money with it. The more we let government borrow the more it can hide its messes and put off the day when it has to cry Uncle and shut down the waste, fraud, and abuse.

Then there are the other government programs, from Social Security to Medicare. It seems like they benefit the people, you and me, but you can be sure that there is somebody getting in line ahead of you and making off with most of the loot before you get there.

It's the old story. If you are in a poker game and you don't know who is the sucker, then the sucker is you.

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