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“We Can’t Spend Our Way to Prosperity”: McHugh Analyzes U.S. Economy at BC Republicans Event

The American economy has come to a point of no return as a result of high government spending—and there is no way to fix it, according to Christopher McHugh.

“I wish I could say to young people there’s gonna be a hero that comes along, like Ronald Reagan or something like that, and you’re gonna come up with some new economic policies that are going to give you the output,” McHugh said. “But that’s not what’s going to happen.”

The Boston College Republicans hosted McHugh, an adjunct professor of economics at BC, in a Monday-night lecture that analyzed the state of America’s economy.

According to McHugh, the United States economy is currently in a deficit, and the only way to solve this problem is to cut spending.

“We can’t spend our way to prosperity,” McHugh said. “Ultimately, you have constraints. Ultimately, you have to balance budgets.”

The president of the BC Republicans, James Markis, MCAS ’24, also discussed the deficit, arguing that it is important for young people to understand where the economy is headed, as it impacts their future.

“I think it’s important for us to understand the future of the American economy and kind of where we’re at,” Markis said. “Basically the president now has really screwed us over and especially where we were, in my personal opinion, and that impacts our generation a lot in terms of deficits on the rise.”

McHugh stated that one of the biggest issues within the American economy is its tax system, which shifts with every new presidential administration.

“What is Joe Biden doing? He changes this tax. Trump comes in, he changes these taxes. Joe Biden comes in and reverses. Why are we doing this at all? Our tax system is a complete mess that is unfixable,” McHugh said. “It wouldn’t be a problem, but [the United States is] semi-broke.”

According to McHugh, research conducted to improve the economy produces arbitrary results, with economists manipulating mathematical models to produce their desired results. If economists used more interdisciplinary methods, they could create a model to discover how to better allocate government spending, he said.

“The fact is, if we just take economists out of their silo and stop having them just do their mathematical models or something like that, and we switched them onto all this interdisciplinary stuff, then we can find some new model,” he said.

McHugh said that if the economy continues to operate as it currently is—afflicted by excessive government spending—it will experience a recession within the next year.

“I don’t blame the Democrats anymore than I blame the Republicans,” McHugh said. “We both have become unhinged with spending. … We don’t even talk about it as a fiasco.”

According to McHugh, whether people like it or not, a capitalist economy is needed to advance as a society, as government-run economies do not create progress.

“I mean, I don’t like or dislike capitalism, but it definitely works,” McHugh said. “If, let’s say, you go back to the year 1000—and somehow there [were] no more competing city-states and countries and somehow we rolled up the world into one government and if we didn’t have capitalism and we had a government-run system—you’d still be living today with the way the world was in the year 1000.”

McHugh said that economic issues debated today are ones he debated many years ago as a college student himself, demonstrating the stagnation of economic progression in the United States.

“The problems you face today are impossible,” McHugh said. “They’re bottomless pits of past injustices—things that we should have settled long ago.”

October 18, 2022