Some Senators Should Stop the Stupid Stimulus
Ahh, alliteration, the simple pleasure of a poetic mind. This post really doesn’t have anything to do with the Senate — that just fit nicely in the title. I have been looking for an opportunity to connect the proposed federal stimulus plan with a Missouri story and blog on it, and the Kansas City Star has given me the opening today. The Star has an article on the problems that the federal stimulus plan will cause Missouri and Kansas. The headline, though — which is also quite alliterative — made it sound like the stimulus plan would hurt the people of the states. But as I read the article, it became clear that the focus of it is on hurting state government budgets, which I care far less about. Nonetheless, I have my opening …
There are numerous reasons why the stimulus plan is unnecessary and improper, and it’s easy to find excellent criticisms of it on the web. I think my favorite line comes from one of the writers in the second link:
“Forget the ‘stimulus’ label, this is merely additional deficit spending,” wrote Dartmouth College economics professor Andrew Samwick, on his blog.
Then there is the fairly obvious disconnect between the fact that Americans don’t save enough money, with the government’s encouragement to spend this $600 giveaway as fast as you can. How about the idea that, since the government never truly knows until a few months after the fact when our economy is in or out of a recession, we could well be on our way out of the recession by the time these checks hit — making it even more of a worthless giveaway?
My primary objection, though, is with the principle that it is the government’s job to manage our economy and to take care of people going through troubles. The government often worsens economic problems when it jumps in. (With some exceptions — and I don’t mean the Federal Reserve here, I mean the government.) I recommend "The Forgotten Man," by Amity Shlaes, for a great discussion of this subject. For all the new programs and taxes and spending, the New Deal did not get us out of the Depression. I would think most people should know that by now, but alas …
As for the article in the Star, though, I think I found the only good thing the stimulus package might do. Since the depreciation schedules would shorten for businesses, state governments might lose significant income, according to the article. If this happens (emphasis added):
“It becomes all about priorities,” Icet said. “After increased funding for K-12 education and Medicaid, you’ve got a few options, but they are very, very limited. So a lot of new programs you simply might not fund.”
So the stimulus plan might prevent the funding of new state government programs? I take back everything I said. Sounds great to me!