07/29/09 — Economics 101: Perhaps president and N.C. General Assembly can share lesson

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Economics 101: Perhaps president and N.C. General Assembly can share lesson

At long last, President Barack Obama is in Raleigh to enlighten North Carolinians about his plans to fix health care.

It is not surprising that many people are not ready to buy what he is selling.

Could it be because President Obama's last "solution" cost this country billions -- and millions of jobs?

But the president is going to peddle his plan anyway -- short on details, of course -- today to a controlled crowd at a Raleigh high school.

So much for open discussion of the issue.

But his visit gives us an opportunity -- if we can find anyone qualified to make it happen.

While the president is in town, why not have him make a stop in the N.C. Statehouse.

We can put him and the state's legislators into one room and give them a lesson on economics.

The first lecture will include a discussion about spending money you don't have -- and what kind of damage that can have on an economy.

There seems to be some kind of misunderstanding among legislators and presidents that there is an unlimited supply of money -- and that if you want to add a bunch of new programs, there is plenty of taxpayer money available to pay for them.

And then there is the pesky little detail about the negative effect taxes have on an economy.

If people feel that their extra hard work will result in nothing more than a higher tax bill, it is not exactly an incentive for new investment and more employment.

The same is true for businesses -- mostly the smaller ones -- which must deal with more regulation, more taxes and shaky and nervous consumers.

Think they are really planning to add a bunch of jobs? Nope. Just the opposite. They are laying off employees and -- in some cases -- closing their doors.

And just out of curiosity, what do you think would happen if those same businesses now faced an expensive new health care system? You guessed it -- more of the same.

Fewer people working; less incentive to start new ventures -- both those equate to less tax money.

Less tax money means less money to fund new programs.

And that means the chance of being able to afford a new health care system is that much less likely -- no matter how many powder puff community forums you plan and carry out.

Perhaps, if we could teach our state and federal leaders these basic premises, there would be more money in all of our pockets -- and budget-making would take days, not months.

Published in Editorials on July 29, 2009 2:48 PM