In Economics 101, students learn that net investment equals net saving as an identity (that is, as a matter of definition). An economy can only invest as much as it has access to saving. Economics 101 students also learn that the three sources of net saving are: private saving, saving from abroad, and government dissaving.
The latest figures show a net private saving of $1,193 billion, savings from abroad of $493 billion, and government dissaving of minus $1,255 billion, leaving only $430 billion of net saving for net investment. Of this, $344 billion went for private investment the rest for government investment (in structures, buildings and inventory). From a private saving pool of over $1.5 trillion, only $344 billion was left over for private investment after the government deficit.
In effect, the government deficit cost the economy one trillion dollars in private investment that could but did not take place! Economists have long called this public “crowding out” of private investment. In return for crowding out, the government paid about forty cents on each dollar of entitlements, general government, public education, GM and Chrysler bailouts, Solyndras, agricultural subsidies, and so on down the list.
Witch-doctor economists, like Obama and Summers, believe that the loss of private investment is no big deal. Government can direct this money to better things. Their central planners can allocate its diverted savings to produce more growth, prosperity and happiness than the private sector’s new drilling rigs, office buildings, assembly lines, Silicon Valley startups, new apartment complexes, private research labs, and new plants and equipment ever could.
Try selling that argument to anyone with common sense.
You Can’t Fix the Deficit with More Deficits