Home > Economics, Politics > Oh goodie.  $800 will fix everything.

Oh goodie.  $800 will fix everything.

January 19, 2008

BBC reports Bush calls for economy kick-start, a bold and insightful move of which the centerpiece is to send us all checks for $800.  In biological terms, this is like a line of cocaine.  Yes, it will make the patient feel great for a while but it shouldn’t be confused with health.

President Bush said the package should be “a shot in the arm to keep a fundamentally strong economy healthy”.

Oh wait, I guess he does confuse it with health.  He should have said “a snort in the nostrils”. 

In economic terms this is analogous to telling every American “We have raised the credit limit on your Visa card by $800.”  Why?  Because thanks to the Republicans we are in deficit spending, and every one of those eight hundred dollars is borrowed money that we will have to pay back with compound interest.

Our economy has to last a long time.  That takes healthy, educated people, living in a healthy environment, safe streets, good transportation, support for basic research, stable relationships with trading partners, less public debt, and a diverse energy infrastructure.  None of those things happen overnight.  No amount of economic hocus-pocus will make them happen – they’re maintenance issues.  But how do you run a campaign on “No quick fix”?

Categories: Economics, Politics
  1. January 19, 2008 at 17:46 | #1

    LOL George!

    I was never one for Bush’s economic policies. The whole spend and borrow idea never made much sense to me.

  2. January 20, 2008 at 08:04 | #2

    Agreeing with you on this one; borrowing money to give it back to consumers so they’ll spend it to boost the economy makes no sense at all.  How about putting a freeze on government spending?  How about de-funding some programs that don’t work, anyway?  How about a balanced budget; one that allows for repayment of the debt already hanging over our childrens’ and grandchildrens’ heads?  Maybe some tax breaks for corporations, so they have the money to create new jobs?  Nah, that would take too long.

  3. January 20, 2008 at 09:54 | #3

    How about ending “foreign entanglements” (which ALWAYS cost more than people realize or are told) and investing in environmental policy and technology?

    That investment will actually improve the economy and yield long term benefits … such as survival of the planet.

  4. January 20, 2008 at 11:25 | #4

    Sorry Prez but the little folks can piss away $800. in a day.  All we have to do is take the kid or ourselves to the doctor and the dentist to get some of the much needed care paid for. Keep your lousy $800. and try working on some of the things already mentioned in the comments above.  In fact work on all of them.

  5. Patrick
    January 21, 2008 at 00:04 | #5

    Hi there – sauntered over from Ed Brayton’s blog and this post looked interesting.

    My first thought when I heard about this ridiculous plan was “Everyone’s just going to put it in savings and it won’t stimulate ANYTHING.”

    Every study and economic measure is showing that people are spending less, on everything, even when they don’t really have to.  My first instinct with that kind of money is to simply put it away because I know that in several months, I’m going to need it.

    We’ve gone far enough down this particular hill that I think even Johnny Idiot knows this too.

    You’re right, you can’t manage a campaign, or a presidency, on “No quick fix.”  That’s why nobody ever offers anything but quick fixes, and those who offer unpleasant long term solutions (the only REAL solutions) are very quickly fired or “retire for personal reasons.”

    There’s only one way any of this can end, and it isn’t pretty.  We’re going to have to crash, and crash HARD, and then rebuild from scratch.  I don’t see any other possible way out.  Sure there are tons of solutions, but none I have any faith that our leaders would ever offer, or the populace would ever embrace.

  6. January 21, 2008 at 10:24 | #6

    Welcome Patrick!  I hope you’re wrong, but I think you’re probably right.

  7. January 25, 2008 at 17:40 | #7

    WHAT’S NEW   Robert L. Park   Friday, 25 Jan 08,  Washington, DC

    In case you didn’t notice, your 401k is shrinking.  Don’t worry – President Bush has a plan: send a check to every family in America. People are supposed to spend it on the shoddy merchandise they didn’t buy at Christmas.  Where is the money coming from?  From taxes we paid to end Iraq’s WMD program.  It worked perfectly; there is not a WMD to be found in Iraq.  No one could think of anything except war to spend the stimulus money on (like maybe health insurance for children, or fusion energy, or the International Linear Collider) so Congress agreed to the President’s plan to write everyone a check.  After decades of public-service announcements telling people to save, we can now expect to be told the opposite.  So much for the laws of economics.  The program would be more environmentally friendly if they cut out the middleman.  Instead of every family, send checks to every business.  Operating on a government subsidy would free business from the need to produce more useless crap to sell.

    Bob Park is a professor of physics at the University of Maryland

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