Thursday, January 24, 2008

A Short-sighted Stimulus Package

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Word comes that Congress and President Bush have agreed on a stimulus package that has not been disclosed but is believed to be something akin to this:

Families with children would receive an additional $300 per child, subject to an overall cap of perhaps $1,200, according to a senior House aide who outlined the deal on condition of anonymity in advance of formal adoption of the whole package. Rebates would go to people earning below a certain income cap, likely individuals earning $75,000 or less and couples with incomes of $150,000 or less.
It's a feel good measure that will inject some quick money into the economy but without the reduction of taxes long-term, it's just a band aid and will serve no purpose over time. Listen, I'm not complaining about an extra thousand bucks in my wallet but, again, it's a smokescreen measure that will only cause a one-time jolt that will not last.

Make the Bush tax cuts permanent, institute another middle class tax cut and reduce taxes on gasoline and small business and then you're talking real stimulus. On top of that, whack spending and hit earmarks equally from both parties. If Bush were to come out and say that he will approve no earmarks unless the sponsor of those earmarks explains the need, most of them will be withdrawn and with an uncertain economic climate, the President would have the upper hand. Hold Congress accountable for the platform they ran on, hammer them into embarrassment by making them justify every single pork-laden penny and explain why, in this time of economic uncertainty, their earmark is needed (more on earmarks at Pork Busters).

The current gasoline tax is 18.4 cents per gallon meaning the average car owner spends more than three dollars every time they fill up. Reduce that--at least for a specified time frame--by say 10-13 cents or eliminate it completely, push the states to do the same and then you're talking real money that Americans don't have to shell out twice per week.

Let's see if Bush has the guts to take on not only the Dems but his own wasteful party as well. The odds on that are not good.

Update: Rep. Jeff Flake appears to be making some progress in a battle that's raging between him, some in the GOP and Democrats on earmarks. The pork loving politico's like Murtha are not about to let earmarks go without a fight but Flake's fighting the good fight.

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