Conservatives need to face up to reality and stop worrying about the rise of the entitlement state and increasing debt and deficits. The reality is that none of it costs anything anyway, and no one believes us when we walk around shouting that the sky is falling.
Under Barack Obama, government handouts like food stamps, unemployment benefits, welfare, disability, and others have risen steadily, and none of these increased programs have cost the government any extra money – any real money. Sure, we’re handing out cash benefits or vouchers that have real cash value, but there is no real cost to that. It’s an accounting gimmick that shows a rise in the deficit here and an increase in the debt over there. But what does that actually cost? Nothing.
Seriously. Taxes haven’t gone up in more than ten years, but government expenditures have. Where has that extra money come from? Not American taxpayers, so how can conservatives continue to say that these government handouts cost real money? They don’t. They cost pretend money on some accountant’s ledger that says we owe a little more money to ourselves. And the people in charge of spending the money are in charge of deciding whether it ever gets paid.
If you’re asking where the money is coming from to pay for all these handouts, the short answer is that we’re printing it. If the government needs to write a check for something and there’s no cash in the bank, it prints more. It’s wrapped up in fancy terms like “quantitative easing,” but the reality is the same: we’re printing whatever it costs to pay for more benefits and bigger government. We’re printing it, we’re not paying it.
“Surely,” you’re saying, “there is ultimately a cost to printing money. After all, putting more money in the economy devalues all money, so there is a hidden cost.” Come on, conservatives, wake up! That’s just a bunch of economic gobbledygook. Printing more money is supposed to create more inflation, but inflation has remained low during the Obama administration (only 1.76% as of last month). Obviously conservative economists have it all wrong.
In short, the people who collect government handouts are most likely in the 47% of Americans who don’t pay federal income taxes, so for them, those handouts don’t cost anything. For the other 53% of Americans who do pay federal income tax, even as government handouts increase our taxes have not. Clearly there is no cost to increasing government handouts. We can keep printing money as long as we need to in order to pay for these wonderful handouts, and inflation clearly isn’t a problem. Face it, conservatives, more and more government handouts don’t, in fact, cost anything. So get on board.