Progressives are enamored of all the "good" that their beloved government goods and services seem to bestow upon society.
Unfortunately, they suffer from the tunnel vision which separates the good economists from the bad ones. As the 19th century French economist/philosopher Frederic Bastiat famously noted:
"There is only one difference between a bad economist and a good one: the bad economist confines himself to the visible effect; the good economist takes into account both the effect that can be seen and those effects that must be foreseen."
In this Freedom Daily article, Bart Frazier teases out this concept with modern-day examples and concepts.
In short, while most people see another government-created recreation center, bridge or auditorium, the good economist recognizes the innovation that could have been produced in the private market. All uses of resources have opportunity costs. When government uses taxpayer dollars to finance projects deemed unworthy in the marketplace, resources are wasted and wealth destroyed:
"… state bureaucrats have undertaken a project that no private venture decided was profitable. In other words, the market has deemed the project a waste of resources, which means that the materials, skilled workers, and time consumed would be better spent on other projects."
I encourage folks to think like Bastiat whenever considering the overall "good" provided by government programs. For every dollar spent on "public" goods or services, that is one less dollar that could go toward job creation, new medical technology, or any number of unforeseen innovations that would improve our lives.