Tuesday, January 14, 2014

Spending VS. Investment

A semantics game, perhaps, but a debate that is constantly brewing in Washington and the public discourse. When we talk about the federal budget, it is always a discussion about spending. Should we cut it or grow it? Where do we spend more and where do we spend less? It's one of the main discussions we engage in, and it's one of the deepest points of contention between the Left and the Right.

As polarization (see the slideshow at the bottom of the article) has grown steadily over time, this discussion has become much more lively. Republicans are constantly demanding spending cuts, saying that the wasteful excess of Washington is impairing America's ability to remain competitive in the world economy. Democrats on the other hand, argue for more spending in certain areas, investment in domestic programs, and more revenue for social support.

It's all a matter of perspective. To Republicans, it's spending, while to Democrats it's investment.

But the hypocrisy of the Republican view of this is that they constantly complain about America losing its competitive edge. Whether its in the world of business, technology, business, health care, business, education, or business, the GOP are very concerned about our nation falling behind on the world stage. But what they fail to realize is that investment in things like healthcare, education, infrastructure, research, and technology makes us more competitive. It keeps us on the cutting edge.

Oh, and it creates jobs.

That must be the funniest talking point Republicans have come up with in years; government doesn't create jobs. Of course it does. Every day, in every state, people go to work because of government. Whether it's in the public sector, or for a private company working on a government contract, that government spending creates jobs.

If we want to be competitive, we have to spend money. That's how the world works. A company that wants to develop a new, innovative product could benefit from government subsidies to help with research. That's a private company using public funds to create a product that will make them money. It's investment.

The same thing holds true for education. If we don't spend money, we won't get the same results. We can argue over the best way to divide up the funds, but let's not debate the spending itself. The next generation needs a good education, and that takes money. If we want to be a strong, successful leader in the next few decades, we have to lay the groundwork now.

It doesn't matter if you call it spending or investment, it all comes to the same thing. Are you willing to spend money on us, on our future? Are you willing to invest America's money in America?

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