Thursday, September 17, 2009

The Broken Democracy Fallacy

"Just think of it as a $280-million stimulus package."

This is the wisdom of Bruce Cheadle in The Toronto Star when discussing the expense of a potential federal election.  Sadly, Mr. Cheadle even found an economist from the University of Toronto to support his claim.

But this is bubble gum economics.  It's lunacy to think that throwing hundreds of millions of dollars around on another election will have any sort of net economic benefit (and there's the rub, Mr. Cheadle's economist doesn't talk about a net benefit, just that there are benefits... but that didn't stop Mr. Cheadle from running with this ridiculous notion).

Of course, we have known for a long time that unnecessary expenses do not make society wealthier.

This is the sort of insight I would expect from a high school student, just beginning to learn about economics, just beginning to grasp the complexity and implications of economic policy and trying to apply them.  This is fine thinking for a novice, but it's just downright silly for a newspaper to publish.  Someone at The Star should have understood the concept of opportunity costs and nixed this pap when Mr. Cheadle first submitted it.

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