Economic stimulus talk is same old hot air

Economic stimulus talk is same old hot air

You’d be hard-pressed to better demonstrate the Democrats’ utter cluelessness when it comes to economic matters than their economic stimulus proposals.

WASHINGTON—Democrats controlling Congress are looking at tax rebates, extended unemployment benefits and more food stamps to stimulate the sagging economy.

Food stamps?! Food stamps are not an economic stimulus; they are supposed to be aid for people in crisis, a temporary and stop-gap measure that carries people over until they can take care of themselves again.

Liberal economists say boosting food stamps is one of the most efficient ways of pumping money into the economy, an idea surprisingly embraced by GOP economist Martin Feldstein at a Brookings Institution forum on Thursday.

Look, an assertion without evidence! That’s all they say. There’s no proof, no explanation, we’re just supposed to accept that since liberal economists—and supposedly one “GOP” economist, although the label doesn’t make him a “conservative” economist—say it, it must be true.

As for rebates, here’s an idea: Why not cut out the middle-man and just reduce my taxes? Instead of taking my money away and then giving me back a pittance, let me keep my money in the first place. Obviously it’s because a rebate is a one-time gimmick, while a tax cut goes on in perpetuity — or until they can pass a law raising taxes again (or fail to renew time-limited cuts).

The mantra among Democrats and many economists is that any stimulus bill should be timely, temporary and targeted toward people most likely to funnel the money right back into the economy.

By that they mean, people who are more likely to blow the windfall on unnecessary luxury items instead of saving it or using it to pay down debt. More typical shortsightedness. At best, it creates an anomalous blip in economic indicators, but no real long-term benefit.

But the politicians only care about creating a statistical change sometime this fall so they can claim that they’ve “turned around the economy” just in time for the November elections. That’s the “timely” bit. It is simple political demagoguery.