Well, obviously the surplus itself is a good thing, but what’s done with it is another matter.
This is where my very liberal tendencies ram head-first into my fiscally responsible tendencies, and I’m not sure where to draw the line. One thing I’m sure of: continually going out and looking for ways to spend the extra money is not a good idea. Where does that end? Very likely it all comes crashing down the next time the economy takes a turn for the worse and the government needs to look for programs to cut.
It all comes down to whether the federal government should be continually looking for ways to expand the services it offers. As an example, should the federal government provide child day-care in a similar way it provides health care? Personally, I don’t think any of these ideas are bad by themselves, but taken as a whole I wonder how large the federal budget will end up being, and therefore how high our taxes will be, to fund them all. Further, there’s the old argument of whether a government agency is the best way to provide those services and I think the answer is “sometimes.”
I think we should focus first on making the programs we have now the best they can be. Improve health care, public transportation, and funding of alternative energy. Pay down the debt with all additional surplus, and once that’s gone either cut taxes or dump it all into alternative energy development.