Government taking from Citizen X , spending it's overhead, and then using the balance to benefit Citizen Y does not contribute or grow a consumption driven economy. These are simply transfer payments. Also the government borrowing a million dollars does not make the government a million dollars richer. The government does not produce any goods or services to move the economy forward. The government only spends what it takes (or borrows today from tomorrows taxes) from it's citizens. This activity is just a wash, minus (not insignificant) government costs. A year of education is an expense. A new bridge is an expense. A new tank is an expense. Every dollar spent is taken from someone who earned it. The economy grows when a business uses that new bridge to grow sales, deliver new products, or to build a new factory across the bridge. Those tax expenditures are only worthwhile if they allow the private economy to grow. Many people believe that too much of our tax dollars do nothing to help grow our economy, are simply wasted, or benefit a few at the expense of many.