Farmer Brown bought a horse. He didn’t need one to farm with, but prices were down due to the economy and he had always wanted to ride, so he bought ‘Lucky,’ one bay gelding with four white feet.
At first, Farmer Brown only rode his horse in the evenings, but he quickly became enamoured with the beautiful and spirited creature. After a couple of weeks, he was often seen riding across his property on the prancing Lucky.
With the increased workload, Lucky began to demand extra rations and that concerned Farmer Brown. Money was in short supply, so he cut portions and poor Lucky paced in his stall with a hungry stomach.
After a few weeks, Farmer Brown noticed that Lucky’s pace had slowed and all the kicking and finger snapping in the world did not entice the poor horse to run. Weaker and weaker he grew until Farmer Brown, knowledgeable about animals, recognized the caloric deficit.
What if, he wondered, instead of increasing Lucky’s food supply, he just reduced his activity? Would he be able to save money? With a heavy heart, he stabled the beautiful gelding and resigned himself to look at him over the stable wall. To make up for the inactivity, he cut Lucky’s food rations in half. Grinning, he rubbed his hands together in the knowledge that he would save a good sum of money by the end of the year.
The problem with Farmer Brown’s reasoning is that he is missing the point. He didn’t buy the horse, so he could stare at him in the evenings. He bought him to ride. Lucky, shut inside the stall day in and day out, became moody and mean. He developed digestive trouble and dropped weight. He stood, listless in his four walls and sulked. He picked up bad habits and chewed on the food trough. The vet had to be called for broken teeth, rotten feet and colic. Farmer Brown worried.
Farmer Brown reminds me a lot of those lawmakers who oppose an economic stimulus bill. They call loudly for spending cuts and yell for tax reductions. They refuse to feed the horse and instead try to stable it. The point of a healthy economy is that people make money and spend it. The point of having a horse is to ride it.
If we want to ride our horses, we have to feed them. We give them the best food money can buy: rich, sweet smelling hay and clean horse-approved oats and sweetfeeds. If we want a functional economy, we must also feed it. With job incentives and progressive spending. We must not stable it and let it starve.
Those who oppose the president’s stimulus bill are missing the point. Farmer Brown missed the point. An economy has to flourish, a horse has to run. It’s the law.