The Challenge to Cut Spending
By Arnold Kling
Recently, Kevin Drum issued this challenge to those who claim to prefer lower government spending.
Let’s hear what you want to cut. And remember, for bonus points you have to include some programs that you yourself benefit from.
I was reminded of this when I got an email about this press release.
Senators Paul Sarbanes and Barbara Mikulski today announced that the Maryland Technology Development Corporation (TEDCO) (www.MarylandTEDCO.org) has received a $200,000 grant from the U.S. Economic Development Administration (EDA) to provide additional support for technology business incubators throughout Maryland… TEDCO and the Maryland Department of Business and Economic Development (DBED) matched the grant with $200,000 in state funds.
I benefit from this program in two ways. First, about a year and a half ago I invested in a company that received funds from this agency. Second, as a Maryland resident I benefit from having Federal tax dollars funneled into my state.
However, as a citizen, I consider this to be wasteful. The whole incubator idea is a sorry leftover from the Internet bubble. Long after the market has soured on the idea, the government still wants to put money into dotcoms.
There is no reason to believe that government should replace–or even supplement–the private sector in picking companies. Moreover, at a time when our state legislators are howling about the pain of a deficit, you would think that a venture capital program that was started when Maryland was flush with capital-gains revenue could be trimmed.
I realize that $200,000 is a drop in the bucket in the Federal Budget. That does not mean that I shy away from cutting larger programs, such as Medicare. But the fact that my Senators are proud enough of this to issue a press release, when I think that they should feel shame, indicates the difference in viewpoints between the spenders and those of us who believe that it is possible to restrain spending.
For Discussion. If you live in the United States, do you live in a state that does not have a venture-capital subsidy program of this kind?