Setting Up Continuing Deficits

Don’t let this tidbit slip past our awareness:

Emerging from a tough competition, four Rhode Island police forces have won money from the federal economic stimulus program to hire police officers, the White House has announced.
The largest single sum, $3,529,812, goes to Providence, to hire 13 officers. The other beneficiaries are Pawtucket, to hire or retain 8 officers; Woonsocket, 4; Central Falls, 2; and the Narragansett Indian Tribe, 1. …
The award covers the cost of hiring officers at entry-level pay and benefits for three years. But there is a “catch,” as some critics of the stimulus program call it. When the aid dries up at the end of the period, the employer is required to keep the new personnel on the payroll at local expense for at least another year.

We can expect that the “stimulus” regime is full of such ramps into an uncertain future — with the government borrowing money from the future in order to obligate itself to maintain expenditures that it may or may not be able to afford a few years down the road. It’s government by economic fantasy, with elected representatives and bureaucrats proving that college students aren’t alone in unwise reliance on debt.

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