Available Now! (click cover)

America's Counter-Revolution
The Constitution Revisited

From the back cover:

This book challenges the assumption that the Constitution was a landmark in the struggle for liberty. Instead, Sheldon Richman argues, it was the product of a counter-revolution, a setback for the radicalism represented by America’s break with the British empire. Drawing on careful, credible historical scholarship and contemporary political analysis, Richman suggests that this counter-revolution was the work of conservatives who sought a nation of “power, consequence, and grandeur.” America’s Counter-Revolution makes a persuasive case that the Constitution was a victory not for liberty but for the agendas and interests of a militaristic, aristocratic, privilege-seeking ruling class.

Friday, August 01, 2008

Hubris in the First Degree

“[A]s president, I will commit two billion dollars each year on clean-coal research and development. We will build the demonstration plants, refine the techniques and equipment, and make clean coal a reality.”

That’s what John McCain, the Republican presidential candidate, said back on June 18 in Springfield, Missouri. My first reaction was this: “That’s mighty generous of Sen. McCain. I didn’t know he had that kind of money.”

Then I remembered he doesn’t. But if he wins the election in November he’ll have something better: the American taxpayers.
The rest of this week's TGIF, "Hubris in the First Degree," is at the Foundation for Economic Education website.


Joe said...

Your mention that American taxpayers produce "about $14 trillion worth of goods and services a year," led me to research. I presume that figure is the U.S. 2007 GDP. However, the formula for GDP (FWIW) includes "government spending" which, according to www.usgovernmentspending.com, is about $5 trillion. So about a third of "goods and services" produced aren't of much benefit.

Robert Higgs said...

The part of government spending that consists of transfer payments--payments with no quid pro quo, such as Social Security pensions and Medicare--is not included in GDP. Only government purchases of currently produced goods and services are included. The government component of GDP is now approximately 20 percent (and has remained approximately equal to this percentage for a long time, give or take a couple points).

Your point remains, of course: a great deal of this has little or no value, or even negative value, but we have no way to know how much it's worth, if anything, because when government uses tax revenues to pay for the goods, we have no freely made market appraisal of the value. Any other valuation is arbitrary.

Sheldon Richman said...

Thanks for the clarifications. That means the taxpayers are worth something over $11 trillion.