But it seems to not want to go away. Just start fixing those bridges already!
This is a point that Lindsey Graham (he of the ultimate bromance) seems unable to understand. Via Think Progress, here he is talking to Wolf Blitzer about why he didn’t vote for the stimulus in the Senate:
BLITZER: Doesn’t South Carolina need some help?
GRAHAM: Yes. But there’s only one taxpayer. This is not money we found under a tree in Washington. The money we’re sending back to the states came out of the same wallet that the money going to the states came from. So, yes, South Carolina needs help. I’m all for infrastructure spending. But it’s got to be shovel ready. […]
I’m not for $75 billion slush fund for states that can be spent on anything they want to spend it on including budget problems because we’ve got our own budget problems and you’re rewarding states who have done very little to trim up their own budget.
Bold is from Think Progress.
Okay, I get the gambit. This money comes from taxes that people pay. If people didn’t have to pay it in the first place, the government wouldn’t have it to give to the states now. You know, that old tax and spend thing.
Graham seems completely unaware that if people had this money in their pockets it wouldn’t matter unless they used it to, oh, I don’t know, fix roads, help kids who can’t afford it go to college (because what are they going to do? ask their rich neighbor who now has more money from a tax cut to fund his education?), provide unemployment to the needy, make sure old folks get all of the Medicare coverage they need…it’s a basic misunderstanding of microeconomics versus macroeconomics and it is getting to be a stale argument.
Human beings have agreed, essentially, that because individually we are incapable of providing ourselves with so many of our basic needs, we need to engage it what is called a social contract. In doing so we give up some things, like tax money and the right to do whatever we want whenever we want it (like kill or steal), in return for things from our governments. We expect lots of things, like clean water and safe bridges, sometimes jobs (cough, cough, Senator Graham), our constitutional rights, you get the gist. If a tax cut could provide for human beings all of the things that government can, we might as well stage a coup, overthrow our government, and go to live in the woods.