News Story

More Great Lakes Spending Hype: It’s A Multiplier!

In a Sept. 22 article, MLive promoted the Great Lakes Restoration Initiative grant program as government spending that grows the economy.

“It’s not a charity program,” MLive said, citing a 2018 University of Michigan report claiming that every federal dollar spent on the GLRI created “$3.35 in economic activity in the Great Lakes region through 2036.”

James Hohman, the fiscal policy director of the Mackinac Center for Public Policy, has seen this before. He has assembled a collection of similar claims by advocates who insist that spending taxpayer dollars on their favorite government programs somehow boosts economic growth through a “multiplier effect.” The result, they say, is more economic growth.

Such claims have been made for government grants to art programs, tourism advertising, preschools, politically favored manufacturers, Hollywood filmmakers, big city bus routes and more.

The claims follow a familiar pattern, according to Hohman: “They were used by advocates to call for more government spending in Michigan.”

Michigan Capitol Confidential is the news source produced by the Mackinac Center for Public Policy. Michigan Capitol Confidential reports with a free-market news perspective.