Asleep at the Stimulus?
by Martin Petersime
Are you tired of hearing about the economic stimulus package? Are you skeptical of its effectiveness? Aren’t there any original ideas out there?
Everyone says tax cuts are needed, but no one knows whether people will SPEND their tax savings. Here’s a suggestion: don’t give tax cuts–give pre-paid debit cards. (In Martin’s world, they would only be sent to people in return for community service, but either way, it guarantees every single dollar will be spent.) Oh, and put a deadline on the debit cards of April 1. Speed counts.
The auto makers are ailing. Here’s an idea: a $3000 rebate to everyone who buys a fuel-efficient (35 mpg or better) car by April 1. Perhaps half the amount for other vehicles–to get rid of inventories. Reduce the amount by $500/month until it expires. If Detroit can’t turn itself around with the extra business, then it SHOULD disappear.
I hate encouraging emission-spewing vehicles over cleaner transportation. Here’s a thought: reward those who use mass transit–a $500 rebate for every citizen who sends in vouchers showing 100 bus/subway/train rides.
States and cities are looking for aid. Here’s a notion: no grants–all loans. Loans guarantee that local governments won’t use the money frivolously. It also means the cost to the federal deficit, long-term, won’t be as high. Add incentives for early pay-back (25% discount if re-paid within two years) or for investing in green technology.
There are creative ideas that would guarantee direct stimulus to the economy and the industries that need it most. (Think tax incentives for energy savings in homes and buildings.) Why do all the tired ideas from Washington seem so, well, tired?
Martin’s previous Crisis Chronicles blog was Of Pride and Predjudice.
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Martin Petersime #270-294
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