I've noted before that the Republican Study Committee has a lot of good ideas on providing the economy a needed kick-start. Some conservative commentators have also suggested cutting the payroll tax -- something that would be felt by rich and poor alike and would also help businesses to keep employing workers.
Unfortunately, it doesn't look as though any of these alternatives is likely to become part of the Democrats' "stimulus" bill. Elections have consequences, and as Barack Obama likes to say: He won.
Instead, we get a "stimulus" bill that looks suspiciously similar to a pork chop the size of Texas wrapped in bacon. Included in this stimulus is funding for contraception, funding that Speaker Nancy Pelosi is quick to defend.
"Well, the family planning services reduce cost. They reduce cost. The states are in terrible fiscal budget crises now and part of what we do for children's health, education and some of those elements are to help the states meet their financial needs. One of those - one of the initiatives you mentioned, the contraception, will reduce costs to the states and to the federal government."
Let's ignore the fact that what Pelosi is advocating here is a sort of soft, government-sponsored eugenics program. She's really only concerned with the "wrong" type of people breeding -- poor, minorities -- the kind that Margaret Sanger didn't like either.
What is the long term effect of a declining population on the economy? Not good.
The reason why Social Security is in such a crisis is the fact that there are fewer and fewer workers every year to pay for the growing number of retirees. Tomorrow's babies are the workers the economy will need to pay the retirement benefits of people in their late 40s and early 50s down the line.
You can consider the contraceptive funding pork, but only a fool would try to defend it as stimulus.
Nobel Prize-winning economist Paul Krugman has an op-ed in today's New York Times that is worthy of little more than scorn and derision. I leave it to Jon Henke, Bryan Pick and Tom Maguire to do the heavy lifting. I just want to take a little delight in Krugman's closing paragraph:
But here’s the thing: Most Americans aren’t listening. The most encouraging thing I’ve heard lately is Mr. Obama’s reported response to Republican objections to a spending-oriented economic plan: “I won.” Indeed he did — and he should disregard the huffing and puffing of those who lost.
I love how having a Democrat in the White House changes Krugman's attitude when it comes to listening to what your opponents have to say.