This editorial will appear in tomorrow’s print edition.
America’s children and unborn grandchildren are on a spending spree. Congress – as it shapes a stupendously expensive stimulus bill – is doing the actual buying.
Because that package will be billed to our children’s credit cards in the form of national debt, we owe it to them to shop judiciously.
So far, that’s not happening. The $819 billion measure that emerged from the House of Representatives last week would be far less expensive if it were stripped down to those provisions that might actually help jump-start the U.S. economy.
The bill has other provisions – including long-term infrastructure investment – that may well deserve passage on their own merits. But the package as passed is anything but focused on the immediate crisis.
A hypothetical example of pure stimulus would be to give all Americans debit cards whose balances would have to be spent within six months – or else forfeited. If $300 billion were distributed this way, roughly $1,000 would be put at the disposal of each person in this country. And it would be spent; virtually all of it would be injected into the economy.