Stimulus Quote of the Day
“Has any story beginning with the phrase ‘a bipartisan group of senators’ ever been good news?” — Jacob Sullum
It occurs to me that I’ve been relatively silent on the stimulus package, both on this blog and elsewhere. The primary reason for that is that, frankly, I think the debate is well-covered here and elsewhere. However, because being a blogger implies that one must put in one’s two cents on everything, I think it’s worth pointing out that I think that both Democrats and Republicans have shown that they’re incapable of running the country during this process.
First, the Democrats for plowing in money to a bunch of “infrastructure” projects that probably shouldn’t have money put into them in the first place. I’m all for infrastructure improvements–the United States desperately needs it–but infrastructure requires some serious planning, not a mish-mash proposal to fund “shovel-ready” projects without considering their merits.
Second, most of the “stimulative” tax-cut proposals that the Republicans have put forth are anything but, as far as I can tell. A $15,000 tax credit on new homebuying seems to me to be an excellent way for people to engage in dubious real estate transactions to score a $15,000 tax credit. A credit giveaway for new cars only helps people who can afford to buy new cars, who aren’t really the people who need distribution right now. Most of the other business tax cuts are of equally dubious merit.
From everything pouring out in this debate right now, it seems to me, in my decidedly unexpert opinion, that the most prudent forms of stimulus are extension of unemployment benefits and related assistance, as well as various proposals floating around for a reasonable payroll tax holiday. If I were to throw something in the ring to stimulate the economy, I’d personally suggest the legalization of marijuana. Vice industries tend to do well in times of economic recession, plus legalizing marijuana would stimulate the growth of new businesses and infrastructure for same. It would allow for the reallocation of local government resources to something more productive than the circus trial of an Olympic athlete while at the same time providing a new source of tax revenue. It’s win-win, really.
Photo by Flickr user ES under Creative Commons license.