11 February 2009
The stimulus package is poised to pass, after the Senate and House passed their versions and key lawmakers have said that they've now reconciled the differences between their bills in conference committee. The final bill going to President Obama will be in the range of $796 billion. I understand the need to stimulate the economy, and unlike my hardcore GOP friends believe, I don't think it's all about tax cuts and no spending. Here's how I would spend some taxpayer monies to help reinvigorate the economy: 1. Pay off state budget deficits. I mean, money going back to individual states is what this is all about anyway, so why not specifically use the federal money to wipe out the state deficits and put state budgets back at even or a little ahead? I know that here in Arizona, we have a $1.9 billion deficit (as of 11/13/2008), amounting to .002% of the Obama federal stimulus package. The sum of all state budget deficits as of that same date was $49,232,000,000 - amounting to 6.18% of the Obama package. It makes me wonder where the heck the money is going, if not to states - we could pay off EVERY SINGLE STATE DEFICIT 16 TIMES and still have a few bucks left over with Obama's package! 2. After we've paid off the state budget deficits, the federal government should forgive or make tax deductable all student loan debts for post-graduation students. If you've gotten a degree, are out of school, and are paying student loans, that money should be forgiven so that the workforce can start spending that money on "stuff" to stimlate the economy. I know I'd like to save my money to buy a car instead of paying $180 per month paying off my loans! (In fact, I probably COULD buy a car if I had $180 per month more for that purpose! I promise to buy American....!) Then because people will be buying more goods, there will be a need for more production, and badda-bing, badda-boom, more workers will need to be hired. Job revitalization! Then, start using the rest of our tax money (I'm assuming that we've used up about 1/3 to 1/2 of Obama's package by this time) to pay down the national debt and buy back our debt from overseas in China, India, and elsewhere. We have a $1 trillion debt right now, and paying off debt to the tune of about $400 billion will be really good for America. Hell, pay off the debt by $200 billion and give us back $200 billion in cash stimulus money! At 400,000,000 people in America, that's $500 per person (though it would probably be higher, as not everyone would qualify for it, and my numbers don't take into account children). I could use that to buy a nice American-made TV....! I dunno, maybe I'm crazy and spending $796 billion without really telling taxpayers where it's going (cough... CEO bonuses and private jets... cough) is really the right answer (gotta love government transparency), but I doubt it.
Posted by Andrew Meeusen at 18:32