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A free floating commentary on culture, politics, economics, and religion based on a passionate commitment to the truth and a desire graciously to refute that which is contrary to it….
"He must hold firm to the sure word as taught, so that he may be able to give instruction in sound doctrine and also to confute those who contradict it."
--Titus 1:9, Revised Standard Version
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But I am a bit worried that...[Obama's] knowledge of economics may not be as extensive as his legal background. In particular, he’s been campaigning with an idea of a second round of economic stimulus to combat the evident slowdown in the economy, to follow President Bush’s first round that is now wrapping up. The first round hasn’t succeeded, and Senator Obama’s ideas aren’t very promising, either.
In that first round, the government has basically borrowed $80 billion to $100 billion and used it to send out checks to most American taxpayers. The hope was that the extra money in taxpayers’ pockets would stimulate consumption.
As Martin Feldstein, the Harvard economist, has said recently, that hope was largely misplaced. The overwhelming bulk of the money borrowed and distributed went to pay down debts and into saving. Only 10 to 20 percent of the money the Treasury borrowed went to bolster consumer spending, Professor Feldstein said.
Of course, the final word on this stimulus package isn’t in. Some economists say that the package has helped avoid deeper short-term problems, and Treasury Secretary Henry M. Paulson Jr. says we need more time to assess the true impact of the rebate checks. (And the stronger-than-expected G.D.P. numbers for the second quarter may be attributed mostly to the export boom from the weak dollar, which turns out to be powerful medicine indeed.)
The rebate matter, however, leads us to a major issue: Do we really want to increase federal indebtedness to stimulate consumption, anyway?
Read it all.
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