As I was writing my check to the IRS yesterday, and I got to thinking a little more about my last post, and decided to follow it up with a little more explanation about my belief in a conservative fiscal policy. Once again, I am going to draw on something I had written previously to illustrate my point. (but that was another forum and another context so it’s ok).
In discussing films with a friend recently we got to talking about how financial backing affects the decisions of filmmakers. We were discussing the film’s El Mariachi and Desperado, two films made by the same director, Robert Rodriguez. El Mariachi is a low budget, independent film. The characters are believable, and the story is intriguing. Desperado is a sequel, of sorts, to El Mariachi and was produced by a big Hollywood studio. With millions of dollars to spend the movie has big name stars, expensive costumes, sets, and special effects. Desperado isn’t half as good as the original.
For those unfamiliar with either of these films, consider the Star Wars films. While the original films were by no means low budget, they were made on a much tighter budget than either the Special Editions or the Prequels. Essentially the budgets for the later projects was unlimited. I thought about leaving this point unstated, but for those whose opinions may differ from mine, the original unadulterated films are the best. The special editions were cool, but the special effects are way over don, undermining the charm of the originals. The prequels don’t have a very good story and seem to provide just enough plot to cover the background of the originals. Otherwise, it’s merely a string of special effects.
Now to my point. Were either of these films improved by the availability of money? I think the answer is no. The abundance of money caused the film makers to make poor choices. The availability of more choices did not necessarily translate into better choices. With unlimited resources people aren’t as careful about how they use those resources and are therefore more likely to make poor choices.
Which brings me back to politics. If filmmakers make bad decisions when they have lots of money to blow, what’s to keep lawmakers from doing the same thing? George Bush’s recent budget proposal to the congress had a staggering $2.5 Trillion price tag. We’ve all heard stories of government spending run amok: $500 screw drivers and $1000 Toilet seat covers, seem to stand out in my memory. Would these hideous buying decisions have ever come about if the government didn’t have virtually unlimited funds from which to draw? Would we
still be in Iraq if the president couldn’t just ask the congress for a few billion dollars more to fund the war and get it? What would happen if the Congress had to tell the president, “We don’t have any more money to spend?”
The way I see it, the government will work better when it has to work with limited funds and a fixed budget. Filmmakers, just like the average joe, make better spending decisions when their resources are limited. They figure out creative ways to get the things they need, and everything is paid for from what’s left over, or done without. Governments should have to function the same way.