Stimulus 2009: Our Tax Dollars are “Chump Change”?
Yet, it is hard to ignore some of the statements being made about the Obama stimulus plan by politicians. Thus, my advice to Obama and his party’s leadership is to back down the political rhetoric and let Obama’s economic team be the public voice for the merits of the plan.
Where are those economic advisers? Have they been effectively muzzled by political interests? Do they share my concern that there can’t be a lot of pure economic good inside a stimulus bill that has reached 700 pages in length and is still growing?
Yesterday, one of Obama’s Democratic operatives in the House described money spent on features of the spendulus plan under attack by Republicans as “chump change.” I don’t know about you, but I don’t appreciate any politician referring to even a single dollar of my taxes as “chump change.” If it’s that insignificant, take it out of the bill and send it back to me.
I have another concern about the likely failure of the stimulus plan, apart from the wasteful spending of our collective “chump change.” Economic data shows that the private sector re-hiring rate is falling faster than the lay-off rate. (Source: Macroblog) I don’t believe that creating government and temporary infrastructure jobs – which is what this plan does – is going to materially alter that pattern.
Here is what I propose: Let Obama’s economic team (not his political hacks) go on national television in a TV studio equipped with anonymous electronic voting consoles. (We want honesty from the economists, unconstrained by fear of political reprisal.) Then we slowly scroll the Obama stimulus plan on a giant display screen, pausing at each spending line item. Each of the economic advisers pushes an “up” or “down” button based on a single question: Will this item create jobs now? If an item does not receive a majority vote, it is stripped from the bill, perhaps to be separately considered at another time when we are not in crisis.
I think this would be the ultimate reality show, probably watched by millions of concerned taxpayers. Maybe we could call it something like “We Don’t Want to be the Biggest Loser” or “American Chump Change.”
Would you watch?