I'm watching the President's address to Congress. Or I was anyway. I've had enough. But after listening to him butcher economics for the last half hour, I have an idea for a little mass action that will both protest the ignorance of his plan and educate those who need it most in the process: Readers of this blog should email the office of their elected officials, and enclose the following link:
That link is to "The Seen and the Unseen" by Bastiat. It is quite clear after listening to Obama's talk tonight that he, and those who applauded him wildly, have no clue as to this fundamental point in political economy. Not once in all of his talk of what government would do did he ever even come close to acknowledging that what government spends on the one hand must be taken from the private spending stream on the other. In fact, at one point he touted his "transparency" plan by saying that it would enable "taxpayers to see how government money is being spent helping other taxpayers." Maybe so, but he glosses over the fact that the money being spent came from those same taxpayers and would have been spent on other things, without the waste of the transfer, were it not for government's intervention. Robbing Peter to "help" Paul only damages both in the process, and certainly stimulates no economic activity.
So let's start our own little form of mass action and protest. Take a few minutes and email your elected officials (and members of the media!) a copy of Bastiat's essay. And then you should spread the word to your friends and family and ask them to do the same. Feel free to enclose a note to the politicians and talking heads explaining why they should read it. It can't hurt and it can only help. And wouldn't it be great if this spread and members of Congress and the media (and the White House!) got deluged with dozens or hundreds or thousands of emailed copies of Bastiat? At the very least, no one can say we did nothing.