No doubt about it – waste is wasteful | TheUnion.com

No doubt about it – waste is wasteful

Help me understand. “A million dollars spent on a construction project involving digging holes and filling them in again will have the same economic effect as repaving our retched freeways, . . .” Harry B. Wyeth, Other Voices, Sept. 30. Our government seems to agree, but it and Mr. Wyeth are both wrong.

If all of us dug and filled holes all day, we would starve. If some did, they would starve or eat at the expense of others. The stuff (food, shelter, energy) that we need doesn’t appear by magic. The productivity of a group is an excellent predictor of its standard of living. Money can be spent productively or wasted. Digging holes to fill them up is a textbook example of waste.

Worse, money can be spent reducing the supply of useful stuff. Excessive government interference wastes money and limits productivity. Even more than waste, excessive government makes us poorer.

Mr. Wyeth’s defense of waste was clarifying if not persuasive. He might consider the possibility that the “mob at Rep. McClintock’s rally” was not displaying economic ignorance, but responding to it.

Doug Donesky

Nevada City


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