Who Will Pay for Lunch?

Today’s Wall Street Journal has a front-page article on the Biden Administration trying to find a way to pay for the $1.9 trillion infusion of liquidity into the American economy as transfer payments to many and then for the infusion of even more liquidity with spending on infrastructure, clean energy and education.

The article notes that the Biden team is caught between raising taxes or incurring more debt to pay for making their dreams become real.

In other words, Biden is eyeball to eyeball with reality and reality “sucks:” there is no free lunch.

Where spending is concerned, if you want to buy anything, then someone at some time – in the past, right now or in the future – has to create real wealth and you need to get a share of it. Money is only a claim to some part of real wealth. You can’t eat gold or paper money or build a house out of paper collateral debt obligations or digital options contracts.

This is an iron law of the cosmos. Something cannot come from nothing, except possibly the big bang. In the Judeo-Christian tradition, there was God before there was our created world.

Thus, the fundamental moral justification for capitalism is that it pays for lunch. More than that, it pays for more lunches (and even for leftovers to eat later) and for better lunches and leftovers than any other human system of mutual collaboration has done – ever.

Capitalism, to be sure, produces material, not spiritual goods. But to what end is the spirit in this life if you starve to death?

All lives in America will be better off (we presume) if the Biden Administration spends $1.9 trillion, but does not offer up one prayer of supplication.

And I note that in the New Testament, two of the most appreciated stories are of Christ miraculously feeding the multitude with loaves and fish and the Good Samaritan selflessly taking care of the robber’s victim lying by the side of the road. The New Testament also gives us the thought that by feeding the hungry, we also feed the divine. The spirit, thus, becomes part of the world through the use of wealth.