Just How Much Stimulation Can One Man Economy Take?


Plenty, at least now that possible recessions are equated with The Great Depression and cannot be tolerated in any way, shape, or form. Federal Reserve Chairman Ben Bernanke has, as the AP puts it, "breathe[d] life into another stimulus bill." This one (to be honest, I'm not even sure which number we're on) will "follow a $168 billion stimulus measure passed in February and a $700 billion Wall Street rescue plan passed 2 1/2 weeks ago."

Sen. Charles Schumer, D-N.Y., predicted Congress would return after Election Day to work on a measure equal to or exceeding February's $168 billion stimulus package, which included $600 tax rebates for most individuals and tax breaks for businesses….

House Speaker Nancy Pelosi of California and fellow congressional Democrats are pushing a package that could cost as much as $150 billion or more.

As part of that package, Pelosi wants to resurrect a $61 billion House-passed measure that included about $37 billion in public works spending, $6 billion to extend jobless benefits, $15 billion to help states pay their Medicaid bills and $3 billion in food stamp assistance for the poor.

Democrats also are considering a second round of tax rebates to follow the $600-$1,200 checks most individuals and couples got earlier this year. That money, going directly to consumers in hopes they would spend it, could push the price tag much higher.

"Democrats hope Bernanke's endorsement will help bring Bush around," says the AP, "and they predicted that congressional Republicans would warm to the idea as well."

Whole thing here. Politicians talking about giving money to voters during an election season? What a brave show of principle and leadership!

How fiscally responsible has Washington become since the change in Congressional leadership? Alas, not so much, especially since the Dems, who made a very strong display of pushing for pay-as-you-go budgeting, in which new expenditures are matched by reductions elsewhere, and other forms of "fiscal discipline" gave up that ship without a fight.

But screw it. Just stop and smell the flowers in Pelosi's office.

Or dig into USA Today's menu of spending this year on saving the economy thus far:

The federal government has already spent, pledged or put on the line more than $1 trillion to rebuild the nation's financial system. Among this year's major commitments:

$700 billion to invest in banks and acquire troubled assets.

$300 billion to back cheaper mortgages for troubled homeowners.

$200 billion to back assets of Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac.

$123 billion to bail out American International Group.

$29 billion to help J.P. Morgan Chase acquire Bear Stearns.

Writes the editorial board of USAT:

Something Obama said Monday captured the put-it-on-the-tab mentality: "Once we get past the present emergency, which requires immediate new investments, we have to break that cycle of debt."

That's like saying you'll go on a diet, after a few more trips to the all-you-can-eat buffet. Or quit drinking, after a few more benders.

More here.