What Are They Subsidizing?

At EconLog after posting the graphic above Scott Sumner observes:

So what does any of this have to do with progressivism? I see the progressive worldview as being based on these assumptions:

1. America’s “savage inequalities” can be addressed by spending lots of money on social programs.
2. American’s education inequalities can be addressed by equalizing spending between poor and rich school districts.
3. America’s poor infrastructure can be addressed by spending more money on infrastructure.

My view is that (at the current margin) more government spending does not solve these sorts of problems, it just ends up being wasted. Rather we should focus on boosting the efficiency of the economy.

That’s a pretty fair first order approximation of my views. To it I would add that I think that results are a better gauge of the results intended than stated goals. I’m not a New Yorker but here in Chicago city government is subsidizing city workers and civic improvement projects attractive to “creative class” Millennials while the city, long characterized as the most segregated major city in the country, is more segregated than ever and black neighborhoods have become shooting galleries. Chicagoans are leaving Chicago in large numbers (half of the domestic exodus from Illinois is from Cook County). Politicians enjoy lifetime tenure and all too frequently leave their notionally elective offices to their children. I don’t think that all of that can be an accident. It’s persisted too long to be accidental.

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