How would you spend $1,000,000,000?

What would you spend $1 billion on? Schools? Hospitals? Roads? Job training? Tax cuts? My guess is that just about anything you can name is a better use than surrogate political advertising by the federal government. I don’t mind watching political ads when they’re funded by party donors, but I do object to having my tax dollars spent telling me how to vote.

Here’s a challenge. Will any of our conservative thinktanks – traditional champions of smaller government – speak out against the government on this one?

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5 Responses to How would you spend $1,000,000,000?

  1. Andrew Norton says:

    The Ross Parish essay competition question this year was intended to bring up issues like this, though on a broader philosophical level than just government spending. But realistically think-tanks only have the resources to cover a very small number of issues. The CIS for example has in full-time equivalent ‘think’ staff probably only 4-5 (most of us are part-time). This is not the kind of issue I would ever recommend. For a start, while much of this spending is wasteful, $1 billion is not that big as government waste goes. But more importantly, we should focus our very limited resources on issues in areas where relevant perspectives are not otherwise being presented. In this case, countless people are complaining already, and Sally Young is making a career out of critiquing this kind of thing. Whatever a think-tank could say would just be a token addition to what’s already beng said.

  2. Andrew Leigh says:

    Andrew, to its credit the CIS’s ambit is pretty wide, as the rollup of 2005 opeds shows: (you really need to teach your web designer to use apostrophes, btw).

  3. SInclair Davidson says:

    The CIS used to have the “Economic Freedom Watch” that included a “pork” section. I imagine this advertising would have made it into that section. On the other hand, as a taxpayer I subsidise union fees (used to run scare campaigns) and as a taxpayer I pay for ads to counter scare campaigns. (hmm, noticing a trend here). If governments were constitutionally bound to only spend money on national security and the administration of justice these problems would never arise.

  4. Andrew Leigh says:

    Of course, neither of us would have a job in that world, but that’s a different problem….

  5. Sinclair Davidson says:

    I’m confident we would both have jobs. Many deadbeat academics, however, wouldn’t. So, different but not a problem.

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