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The Student News Site of Stony Brook University

The Statesman

The Student News Site of Stony Brook University

The Statesman


    The Benefits of Big Government

    David Brooks, a columnist for The New York Times, warned readers of the dangers of a full-fledged liberal revival in American politics over the next few years in his Oct. 14 article “Big Government Ahead.”

    After a long list of assumptions he made about an Obama administration that would revive Keynesian economics, he concluded that the liberals will inevitably take advantage of the economic crisis and dramatically increase spending and the deficit. Where’s the problem?

    The stigma associated with liberals and “big government” never ceases to surprise me. The “big spender” reputation liberals have earned is rooted in entitlement spending. It is deficit spending that, during the first term of Franklin Delano Roosevelt, led to immediate economic relief. The creation of programs such as the Works Progress Administration created two million jobs, and the Social Security Act remedied the dire economic conditions the country was in.

    Ironically enough, it is the conservative administration of the past eight years that have driven a $559 billion surplus into a $400 billion deficit. But as long as the deficit isn’t caused by the untrustworthy government getting its dirty hands into the lives of Americans to give them scary things like social security and healthcare, deficit spending is fine.

    According to a New York Times op-chart, “Bulls, Bears, Donkeys and Elephants,” the S’P market index under each the of past Republican and Democratic presidents showed that over 39.9 years an invested $10,000 would grow to $300,671 under the Democrats, while under Republicans it would grow to $11,733. Clearly, Democratic presidents do not warrant the reputation they have of poorly managing the economy.

    Brooks mentioned in “Big Government Ahead” that Obama promised various tax-credits, such as $4,000 a year for college tuition, $3,000 for childcare, $7,000 for a clean car, and a mortgage tax credit. Although his tax credits and his tax policy — that “isn’t as irresponsible as McCain’s” — may appear to reduce revenues, his investment in the middle class may do the exact opposite.

    A couple of thousand dollars a year spent on each family to improve their educational opportunities and quality of life can only benefit the government. It is in the interest of the government to have an educated populace that can excel in math and the sciences to reposition America at the forefront of technology. It is in the interest of the government to give tax breaks to middle class Americans who are suffering from wage stagnation and would probably spend whatever they save in tax breaks as consumers anyway, because the money they receive from tax breaks is not the kind you invest in savings.

    The popularity of small government in America always rested in the idea that such decentralization of power is what would keep Americans autonomous, and the economy prosperous. The past eight years of Republican debauchery, however, have been a testament to the fact that mere government deregulation cannot sustain the economy.

    Maybe big government is what America needs now, just as it did after the Great Depression. Maybe big government in America is what the world needs now, after countless countries are finding themselves in economic trouble as a result of American economic faux pas.

    It is just weeks before the election, and it is no time to play on stereotypical fears of Democratic big government and big spending. As David Brooks says, “overreach is coming,” and it’s about time.

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