One unfortunate consequence of inflationary government spending is that it gives people that crazy idea that it’s good to spend money you don’t have. The government spends in hopes that things will get better, so why shouldn’t you? This thinking has even made an impression on a Harvard student who should know better. Here’s a quote from his column in the Harvard Crimson:
Because of the service it provides, Harvard should think of itself more like a government than an individual or a business firm. With its reputation and available funds, the university is not going anywhere, but delaying improvements will have dismal effects on future endowment performance.
In other words, Harvard is too big to fail.
I almost expect the column to suggest Harvard should wage wars or establish a post office “like a government.” Instead, it acknowledges a downside to spending during lean times (only to conclude Harvard should spend anyway):
Crises often spur efficiency reviews that help organizations in the long run by improving performance.
True. And, I might add, when governement officials — or Harvard administrators — spend without regard to current resources, they tend to fund hastily-adopted schemes, which become firmly entrenched by the time the economy turns around.