The government decides to try to increase the middle class by subsidizing things that middle class people have: If middle-class people go to college and own homes, then surely if more people go to college and own homes, we’ll have more middle-class people. But homeownership and college aren’t causes of middle-class status, they’re markers for possessing the kinds of traits — self-discipline, the ability to defer gratification, etc. — that let you enter, and stay, in the middle class.
For too many in government, cause and effect have been confused. As mentioned above, a house and an education supposedly make one middle class; spending billions to make a city attractive is believed to improve its economy and -- worst of all at the moment -- increasing consumer spending is said to increase production. They are all exactly backward and they are causing us to go broke.
[UPDATE:] Thought of one more: spending creates prosperity.