This thread is intended to be a discussion of the economic stimulus bill passed by the House yesterday (1/28/09). Be sure to follow all the forums rules and, above all, be civil, as I'm sure a few of us' opinions on the bill are drastically and diametrically opposed to the majority of Cyburbia's.
That being said, I think the stimulus package is not a stimulus package. At it's best it's a 20-30 year economic plan, and at it's worst it's an excuse to enact a massive project to reinstitute some key aspects of liberal/progressive political philosophy that have been removed over the last 30 years. But political ideology aside (i.e back to my "at best" argument), most of the investments will not be fully capitalized on for 20-30 years. The US will probably go through at least two more business cycles in that time, not including the current recession. So, naturally, it is not a stimulus package. It's a long term plan. And there's not anything necessarily wrong with that (again, political ideology aside), but it will do very little to resuscitate the economy now as it's being parlayed from Congress and the White House to the public. And I would take issue with that even if I did not hold opposing views of such heavy government involvement in the economy.
More needs to be done, from a practical perspective again, not an ideological one, for it to be a stimulus. Rush Limbaugh, of all people, had the idea for a compromise idea for a stimulus package that I think most people will find intriguing, especially economists and intellectuals: don't argue Keynesian vs. supply-side policies. Test them both, in the proportion of the election results. Limbaugh argues that 53% (54% including the 1% who voted "other" in the general election) of the American public voted Obama into office and 46% were opposed to him. He also points out that, according to Rasmussen, 59% of the American people are skeptical or worried that a Keynesian plan like Obama's will raise government spending too much while the same report claims that only 17% worry that the 1/3 of the stimulus package that calls for tax cuts will cut them too far. So he proposes to split the $819 billion in that proportion amongst Keynesian spending projects and various tax cuts, with 53% going towards spending and 46% towards supply-side tax cuts, and measure the results of each. It has the potential to end the political bickering each time a recession hits (and would help Obama show his promised bipartisan spirit which he threw out the window last week when he told GOP lawmakers who proposed more tax cuts "I won and I'm going to trump you on that", but that's an argument for another day), as it would show which elements of each philosophy work and which ones don't. And, in the words of Limbaugh:
In this new era of responsibility, let's use both Keynesians and supply-siders to responsibly determine which theory best stimulates our economy -- and if elements of both work, so much the better. The American people are made up of Republicans, Democrats, independents and moderates, but our economy doesn't know the difference. This is about jobs now.Rush's compromise is outline in an Op-Ed in the Wall Street Journal. The article can be read online here: <http://online.wsj.com/article/SB123318906638926749.html>. And before this thread gets hijacked by Limbaugh-bashing and credibility arguments, read the proposal first. It's not full of brash statements or "hate speech" that so many are fond of calling Limbaugh out for. It's a legitimate proposal.