It is amazing the level of silliness government will go to in order to get good press:
Congressional leaders announced a deal with the White House Thursday on an economic stimulus package that would give most tax filers refunds of $600 to $1,200, and more if they have children.
said Congress would act on the agreement — hammered out in a week of intense negotiations with Republican Leader and — “at the earliest date, so that those rebate checks will be in the mail.”
The rebates would go to 117 million families, according to a Democratic summary. That includes $28 billion in checks to 35 million working families who wouldn’t have been helped by Bush’s original proposal, the analysis estimated.
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Republicans, for their part, were pleased that the bulk of the rebates — more than 70 percent, according to ananalysis by Congress’ Joint Tax Committee — would go to individuals who pay taxes.
Now, you may think that I would like the concept of get some money back from my taxes. But this sort of “stimulus” package is the kind of Inside the Beltway silliness only Washington lifers could find useful or prudent.
There is more below the fold…
First off, what economic impact is this truly going to have? As my RedMaryland colleague Michael Swartz notes:
All right, so I get an $800 check. The feds want me to buy something in the hopes of goosing the economy. But a lot of people who are behind on their mortgage bills and credit cards will simply send that cash along to whomever they owe, which will help bail the banks and creditors out. It’s a similar argument to the one over the subprime mortgage bailout, which helps the creditors but doesn’t teach those who weren’t of enough sense to borrow within their means that they should consider their options more carefully.
And he’s right. If we are currently in a “credit crunch” as we seem to be, the majority of those Americans who are going to receive this cash an immediately put it towards their credit card or other debt. Even though I do not carry any credit card debt from month to month, I am still likely going to do one of two things with the rebate: bank it, or put it towards my mortgage, my car loan or my student loans. I’m certainly not going to go buy a 70-inch TV or any sort of thing like that just because the government.
At least that’s what should happen. As Michelle Malkin notes:
The stimulus will stimulate more of the same bad behavior that got people into trouble in the first place.
Because if the Government gets its way, people will spend their money instead of being responsible like they should be and either saving it or paying down their debt. Except in Maryland, where that money will be wasted on higher taxes (the fruits of O’Malleynomics).
And that brings us to the second point, that both Malkin…:
I’m all for the government giving me back my money. But why not drop the economic stimulus pretense? Just give me back my money. If the government can spare these “rebates” and send them back now, why did they take the money in the first place? Forget this temporary candy. Why not make this “rebate” permanent?
….and Moe Gates note:
Guys, it’s nice to get the money back and all; and I like roads and the best military on the planet and a judicial system and a space program and, heck, I can even live with a National Endowment for the Arts*. But if you didn’t need the money, why in the nine billion Names of God did you take it from me in the first place?
Obviously, Government realized that there was $9 billion that could be better spent in the economy than by Government. Is anybody going to take that lesson from this? Does anybody stop to think what such a thing means in the argument between Keynesian and free-market economics? Is this a tacit acknowledgment that the free market does better things for the economy than government spend-and-tax programs? (And somebody should make sure Governor O’Malley gets a copy of that memo).
The solution to fixing the economy is simple, and something I have stated many times before:
- Lower taxes
- Reduce spending
- Reduce the size of Government
How hard is that? And so far, only Governor Romney has proposed an economic package that even comes close to doing the things necessary to bolster our economy, for both the present and the future.
This talk of immediate economic stimulus is plain silly talk that does little to improve the economy. It merely shows that government knows only how to meddle it affairs it does not understand, and shows that government collects too much money in taxes from its citizenry. Government needs to get out of the business of undertaking initiatives that either stimulate or limit the American economy.