What a relief. Where there was pain, there will now be only gain (so they say), as our House Of Representatives, in a rare show of bipartisanship, passed an economic stimulus package today.
It seems like all the pols are at least semi-happy over this package. Bush likes the plan because he says it is about the right size, approximately $150 billion. Republicans like the plan because it gives a tax rebate to taxpayers, $600 to single filers, up to $1200 for families. Democrats like the plan because it gives income tax rebates to people who don't even pay income taxes, in the amount of $300 (not sure how you can call that a "tax rebate". Might as well just call it what it is, a handout, a one-time entitlement program). The proposal still has to pass through the Senate, where several Democrats are promising to add to it's size, but it looks like this package will indeed be passed. Y'all can expect your checks around june or so, just in time to buy that new above ground swimming pool you've had your eye on.
Now, I'm all for taxpayers getting some of their hard earned money back, since the government has been stealing far too much of it for far too long, not to mention robbing you blind on your Social Security "Trust Fund" (wink, wink), but I have to ask whether or not this middle class targeted tax rebate is really going to stimulate the economy. I don't think so, at least not for more than one fiscal quarter of 2008. What the government wants us to do with our newly found rebate money is to go to the mall and immediately spend it like good little consumer-bots, thus pumping up some short term economic numbers, so we will avoid negative growth, aka, a recession. If you're wondering how this deals with our underlying economic problems, i.e. the subprime mortgage crisis, the falling dollar valuation, the massive federal debt, the offshoring of jobs, rising prices, or the credit card crunch, well, I don't know what to tell you. I'm wondering too. It's true that the fed just slashed the interest rate by 3/4 percent. That should help some. There is also a provision in the economic stimulus package to expand the ceiling for FHA loans, allowing more subprime loan holders to refinance. That should help a little. However, it seems to me that all the underlying economic problems are still right where they were before, maybe even a little bit worse. I didn't see $150 billion in spending cuts to offset the cost of this package, so the deficit gets bigger. The tax rebates weren't aimed at the investment class, so I don't see tons of new jobs and new revenue being created here to potentially offset the cost, or even come close to offsetting the cost. I didn't see any slashing of our highest in the world corporate tax rates to make our businesses more competitive (the Dems would NEVER allow anything this sensible). I didn't see any slashing of the capital gains double taxation rate to encourage investment (the Dems would NEVER allow anything this sensible either). I didn't see anything like that, which would REALLY encourage new businesses and new jobs to come to america, that would really make us more competitive in the global economy. I didn't see anything that would address the real reason for most of our economic problems, out of control government spending, that has every man, woman, and child in the country responsible for over $30,000 of government debt, or, counting all the future unfunded liabilities of the federal government, has each family on the hook for about $440,000 over the next few decades. Nope, nothing about all that. I didn't see anything really conducive to long term growth. I just see a shot of temporary painkiller to mask the symptoms of the illness, and very little to deal with the root causes.
So, take your shot of novacaine america, and try not to worry about what happens when the novocaine wears off, and that cavity you had becomes a full blown abscess. We'll let someone else worry about that...namely, your children.
There is one silver lining to this for conservatives - Democrats are now on record admitting that lowering taxes stimulates the economy. Don't forget this conservatives, and don't forget this america. Ever. It's the inviolable rule that reveals the fallacy of nearly all liberal policy.
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