Problems With the Stimulus Plan

Saturday, February 7, 2009

In his Jan. 30 op-ed, "Blind Unanimity," Eugene Robinson likened the unanimous vote by House Republicans against the stimulus package to the 1981 strike by air traffic controllers, indicating that both groups failed to recognize a "fundamental shift in American politics."

However, the stimulus package doesn't represent a fundamental shift but business as usual. It would continue our "drunken-sailorish spending," as Mr. Robinson put it, with a smorgasbord of projects that would do little to stimulate the economy. During his campaign last fall, President Obama complained about the $10 trillion national debt, but the stimulus package combined with the financial bailout would add at least another $1.5 trillion to it. As written, the package probably wouldn't end the recession much sooner, but it could make matters much worse down the road.

This is a bad bill, and the Republicans were right to vote against it.




To my (economically) uneducated mind, there is something almost hallucinatory about this statement from the Feb. 1 news story explaining the stimulus plan: "The administration estimates that more than 600,000 of the jobs saved or created under the stimulus plan would be in retail and 500,000 would be in leisure and hospitality industries."

Retail? Clerks? Who is going to be buying more stuff when most of us have less to spend and aren't saving enough for retirement anyway?

Leisure? Hospitality? Are they anticipating more of us spending our dwindling dollars at spas and hotels? Even if the government has to resort to make-work programs, at least have them benefit the country: assisting in child-care centers, nursing homes or food banks.

Maybe the government should create an urban conservation corps. To have a menial job is bad enough, but to have a useless menial job is more demoralizing.



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