In his Freeman column today, Sheldon Richman takes aim at one of the worst myths of big government, namely that government spending leads to prosperity. In particular, he points out that government spending (neither in FDR’s New Deal or during World War II) did not restore prosperity to the country. Government spending diverts scarce resources from uses that serve the desires of consumers to uses that politicians direct. That doesn’t lead to more wealth (goods and services for people to buy) but less.

His point has immediate application, too. Obama’s spending spree hasn’t restored prosperity because it can’t.