A thought on "economic stimulus"
Now, allow me to elaborate on that. The way that our economy runs, the results of most actions are delayed; pass something now, and it is highly unlikely that you'll find out the effects of it for at least a year, and you probably won't see it until a couple more elections pass. Yet when our politicians speak of the economy in general, they talk as if what they pass on monday will change everything by friday. Look at both sides of the "economic stimulus" discussion in DC now:
-Bush and the republicans are saying in the same breath that 1) we have to "ride out" the current climate and 2) another stimulus package must be passed. Well, which one is it? Do we have to stick it out, or do we need more legislation? They should be more clear on this, because right now they seem to be contradicitng themselves. Now, I have nothing against the cuts themselves (though I wonder why they aren't more wide-ranging; there's areas of taxation that never seem to be addressed, like the payroll taxes that get taken out of our paychecks before we ever see them), but that's not for their reason; me agreeing that our taxes are too high doesn't mean that I think it will magically lift the economy immediately out of it's current idle. In a nutshell, it's a general maintenance plan that's being portrayed as a life-saver; an oil change sold as an engine overhaul, so to speak. I would rather that it be explained as what it is.
-meanwhile the democrats are complaining that the previous "stimulus package" didn't do anything, yet at the same time proposing their own package that in the long run clearly would make no difference. The last thing we ever need is more exaggeration from either side, but we especially do not need heightened government service spending when our pockets are suffering enough as it is. How they can still criticize Dubya & co when the same criticism applies to them as well is beyond me.
Ideally, what should be done is the following:
* first of all, both sides should ditch this portrayal that they're putting forth dueling "magic bullets". It's all general maintenance, there is no magic bullet solution, and whatever happens many of the players in the discussion may not even be around to see it. This general maintenance is all they can do, they should be humble and accept it.
* after this has been done, they can get to having an honest discussion, and come to some type of mutual conclusion. Personally I think the best thing would be for both groups to get their preferred methods of tax burden loosening; the GOP can speed up the Bush tax cuts, the democrats can have tax rebates and targeted cuts on top of this. Also, they should start attacking corporate welfare and encourage a crackdown on fraud however legally plausible, since it's stupid to expect people to go spending when they're still worried about being screwed over yet again.
* when this has been implemented, come to us and simply tell the truth:
"what we're doing is not meant to be an instant cure-all. As much as we used to gripe about the plans of our opponents not working instantly, to expect such is ignorant. A market economy depends on the decisions of it's individual participants; in other words, you must be doing better before it improves as a whole, not the other way around. It may take some time, but the effort will be worth it, we just hope to have made the path a little clearer. Thank you."
Of course, I doubt they'll ever be this honest, but a man can dream, right?