Economist Brad DeLong criticizes an economics reporter from ProPublica who claims “his job is looking for ‘gotcha’ stories about stimulus money going for ‘lion cages at the National Zoo.’” In DeLong’s comments, I asked:
What’s wrong with lion cages at the National Zoo? I like the National Zoo, and someone would be employed by this. Seriously, I don’t get it.
(That’s not the snark, but it really does make you realize how stupid that reporter is. If you don’t believe that a stimulus was necessary, well, you’re an idiot, but, regardless, once you do have a stimulus, what’s wrong with using it to fix up our zoos–and museums, and parks too? It beats digging up holes and filling them up again, or the slightly more productive activity of building ridiculous amounts of weapons that, in the best case, we never use. Unfortunately, once we do build them, there seems to be the temptation to use them which creates additional problems…).
Anyway, a commenter brings the snark:
If you give the lions cages, they lose all incentive to build the cages themselves. It’s just another form of welfare and in the long run you end up with a bunch of lazy lions… Would be far better to cut their taxes.