The Murtha Airport is another Monument to the Folly of Keynesian Stimulus Spending

Posted by PITHOCRATES - April 7th, 2012

Week in Review

Keynesian economists, and the current administration, strongly believe in the power of government stimulus spending.  Keynesian theory is all about the importance of consumer spending.  And everything about Keynesian stimulus should put more money into consumers’ pockets so they can spend money in the private sector economy.   For even the Keynesian will acknowledge that consumer spending in the private sector economy is the only thing that matters for real economic growth.  And anything that helps in this endeavor can and should be done.  Even if it means having the government pay people to dig a ditch.  Then fill it back in.  And then dig it out again.  And so on.  Because those people the government pays to do something completely worthless will take their paychecks and spend them in the private sector.  Thus stimulating the private sector economy.

Of course you can only pay so many people to dig a ditch.  But an airport, now that’s some real government spending (see Murtha Airport, brought to you by American taxpayers by Jonathan Karl, Richard Coolidge & Sherisse Pham posted 4/3/2012 on Yahoo! News).

Three years ago, we first visited the tiny airport, and found a monument to pork barrel spending: An airport with a $7 million air traffic control tower, $14 million hanger, and $18 million runway big enough to land any airplane in North America. For most of the day, the only thing this airport doesn’t have is airplanes.

We flew there on one of three flights that arrive there daily, all of them from Washington D.C. About half the cost of every ticket, $100, is paid by American taxpayers, a subsidy Congress voted to renew just this past February.

The place had a shiny new luggage carousel, a state of the art tower, and some very bored air traffic controllers — but very few passengers. The place is a tribute to the power of its namesake; everything from the reinforced runway to the radar facility to the new terminal, are all thanks to Democratic Congressman John Murtha, who died more than a year.

You see, that’s the problem of paying people to do something worthless.  Building this airport cost a lot of taxpayer money.  Those who built the airport did well.  While they were building the airport.  But now that the work is done that airport is one expensive filled in ditch.  For it’s as useful as a filled in ditch.  But even more costly.  For a filled in ditch at least doesn’t need employees to stand around waiting for something to do.  It doesn’t consume electricity and natural gas utilities.  And it doesn’t have to be maintained.  Unlike a runway.  Even if it’s not being used.

The government went into debt paying for this.  It’s part of the reason the debt ceiling has to be increased so often.  Because of all the John Murtha pork barrel spending out there.  Worse, the airport cannot generate enough revenue to support itself.  And requires government subsidies to keep it open so people can stand around waiting for something to do.  This and all other pork barrel spending adds up to be a terrible drag on the economy as it sucks money out of the private sector (where they don’t build airports where there are no airplanes to use them).  Where the only spending that counts for real economic growth is reduced by the amount of the stimulus taxed out of it.  And servicing the debt created by this stimulus spending further reduces economic activity in the private sector.  As the interest on the debt grows to a larger and larger line item in the U.S. budget.  Forcing the government to borrow money to pay the interest on the money they borrowed previously.

The worst thing about this is that those on the Left, the Keynesians, don’t see a problem in this.  For they have no fundamental understanding of economics and believe their Keynesian follies actually help the economy.  Despite having a failing track record for close to a century.  They believe.  They have faith.  And don’t need to see results.  For their faith is enough.  Yet they won’t stand for the irresponsible ‘spending’ of a tax cut that actually stimulates economic activity in the private sector.  That place where the only spending that counts for real economic growth takes place.  And has a very successful track record of success.  As Harding/Coolidge proved.  As JFK proved.  As Reagan proved.  And as George W. Bush proved.

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