Hidden capital

There is a problem with government accounting that drives me around the bend, but that I rarely see noted elsewhere. When corporations build a factory, it is considered a positive, the creation of a capital asset. But when government builds a road or a school, it’s an expense. It’s simply spending money, treated the same as the most frivolous waste. Why can’t we have a system of accounting that gives government credit for the creation of genuine assets like bridges and schools?

Charles Peters

Charles Peters is the founding editor of the Washington Monthly and the author of a new book on Lyndon B. Johnson published by Times Books.