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Thursday, February 12, 2009

The Economy, The Stimulus Bill, and Useless Debates

Over the last week it has occurred to me that I should be blogging about the economic stimulus bill. Its all they talk about in the news. Can there be a bi-partisan solution? Should the Democrats shave off ore dollars? But I haven't been able to bring myself to hold forth on the topic. I guess I just don't think there is truly anything to debate. 

And I know that may sound strange coming from me given my love of dialogue but....isn't it too late for a debate about the details?

Hundreds of thousands of people are out of work. The economy is growing worse by the day. And none of the critiques I have heard of the bill are the least bit compelling:  Its  a bad idea to pump money into state governments? Its a mistake to give money to create jobs that simultaneously improve our schools, build a green economy, or provide family planning, healthcare, or infrastructure to cities?

And we should debate the details of this bill with people who think the only way to stimulate an economy in a recession is through tax cuts? And they are arguing this after the last administration got us into this mess while following the same tax cut economy stimulus plan? 

And they want to stall this bill after they helped Bush rush through a Wall Street bailout plan that did not save the economy, helped no homeowners, stopped no job losses, created no jobs, provided no regulation or oversight (specifically requested by those who rejected the bill)  and resulted in wasteful spending by prodigal corporate executives (on golden toilets and whatnot) at the taxpayer's expense?

Really? Are they serious? 

Forgive me but I just can't quite wrap my head around this. It just doesn't make sense. What is there to debate about exactly?

Shouldn't the people who've made so many bad decisions over the last eight years be a tad bit more humble? Wouldn't it be more dignified for them to just say, "Ok. My bad. I messed up. See what you can do to fix it up" 

But if the devastated economy is not evidence enough that we should stop attempting to stimulate the economy with tax cuts, try looking at some figures that tell us which economic policies have the largest impact on the economy. Check out this chart by Mark Zandi in which he shows that tax cuts are much less effective in stimulating the economy than spending. Tax cuts will not save us:











So can we stop debating  and start trying to save this currently-in-the-toilet economy already?

I'm just sayin'
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