One-Way Trickle

4 comments February 2nd, 2008at 03:18pm Posted by Eli

Jane has posted a chart from the Congressional Budget Office (or, as Dubya would call it, “the bureaucracy”). It shows that the two most cost-effective and fast-acting strategies for stimulating the economy are the two that the Democrats bargained away in their ongoing quest for bipartisanship: Extending unemployment benefits, and temporarily increasing food stamp benefits.

Unfortunately, Americans being who they are, and politicians being who they are, any such measures would immediately be decried as giveaways to slackers and welfare queens at the expense of hard-working Americans. Because, as we all know, no-one is ever poor or unemployed through no fault of their own. But even if they were, it is beside the point. The goal is to stimulate the economy, which would benefit everybody. A $600 tax rebate is small consolation if you lose your job six months later. But that’s not how people think. When the stimulus money is divvied up, no-one’s thinking, “Will it work?” No, they’re keeping score and asking, “Where’s mine?”

The really sad irony about all this is that it’s a mirror image of the rationale for cutting taxes on the wealthy: That they’ll have more money to spend on, well, whatever they want, and that means more goods and services sold, and that will “trickle down” to more jobs and money for everybody (this has yet to actually work – the rich already have more money than they can spend, so they just end up socking it away somewhere). But when the non-partisan CBO suggests that money can trickle up from the poor and the unemployed, no-one wants to hear it. But really, if you’re talking about a fixed amount of money, those who are living hand-to-mouth are a lot more likely to put every cent of their benefit back into the economy – they have to.

But, of course, while the poor and unemployed might represent the most bang for the buck in terms of stimulus, they offer the least bang for the buck in terms of votes and campaign contributions, and that’s all that really matters to the selfish wankers who run our country. They would much rather give us a stimulus that doesn’t work but makes most people happy, than a stimulus that works but pisses off everyone with money.

Entry Filed under: Corruption/Cronyism,Democrats,Economy,Politics,Republicans,Wankers


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