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Subject:  Re: Why the Stimulus Package Can't Work Date:  2/24/2009  11:48 AM
Author:  Goofyhoofy Number:  35340 of 41980

The problem with government is that it is totally incapable of creating supply, that is the job of free enterprise.

This, of course, is completely wrong. The Erie Canal was created by government. Oh, private enterprise tried, and failed, a half dozen times. When government got behind it, it opened up a new transport system which brought midwestern flour to New York, and New Yorkers to new lands in Ohio. The price of bread dropped by 90% as transport became so gigantically efficient.

Along the way it produced thousands of jobs for people digging the big ditch, and then monitoring the barge traffic, running the locks, collecting the tolls, and so on. That was a stimulus package for the 18th century which paid dividends for the entire economy for a century afterwards.

Anybody want to argue that we are better off with a Panama Canal than without it? Want to guess whether it was private enterprise or government which managed to make it happen?

Hoover Dam, anyone? The Grand Coolee? The TVA? That one is of particular interest because it pitted private enterprise against a government bureaucracy. Prior to the TVA, 30% of the people living in that area contracted malaria. The many rivers which make up the current system were impassable, and of little use for energy production or much of anything else.

The private power companies were entirely uninterested in developing more production capacity; they had all they needed to serve a handful of wealthy enclaves, and it was too expensive to run all those wires to the poorer population, so they didn't. Along came the TVA, along with government mandated rural electrification programs, and within a few years everyone had access to the miracle of electricity. That created a virtuous cycle with millions, instead of thousands, of people shopping for refrigerators and washing machines and lightbulbs and all th