I must say that I’m torn on the proposed economic stimulus package being touted in Washington. The plan would give checks of $600 per individual, $1200 per couple, plus an additional $300 per child to taxpayers making less than $75,000 individually or $150,000 per couple.

On the one hand, any return of money to the taxpayers is a good thing. The government stole our money, and they should give it back – simple.

I do not, however, think that the refunds should be limited to those making less than $75,000 per individual or $150,000 per couple. We all paid in, we should all get money back.

I also don’t agree that those who haven’t paid in to the system should get money. The stimulus package would give those who pay no income taxes $300 per individual or $600 per couple. These people didn’t pay in to the system, why should they get anything “back?”

An additional concern I have is that this package will – although somewhat indirectly – contribute to the national debt. We all know that the government isn’t going to cut spending to pay for the package, so we will be facing the total of this package (an estimated $150 billion) being tacked on to the federal deficit in addition to the $250 billion already estimated to be in the red for the coming year due to the economic slow-down.

I know there are some who argue that for the government to cut spending in order to pay for the economic stimulus package would defeat the purpose of the plan (to discourage an economic downturn), as any spending is good spending (I had a college professor who argued this point until he was blue in the face – never convincing me…).

Government spending isn’t the same as individual spending. For one, government spending involves untold waste. In order to buy a computer, the government spends twice what I would spend, thereby buying only one computer for the same amount of money it would cost me to buy two. So, instead of paying Joe Schmoe to build two computers, we’re only paying him to build one; Mr. Schmoe is making less money and can’t buy a computer of his own, thereby eliminating another computer that could have entered the market place, and so on and so forth.

Secondly, the government isn’t spending real money. It’s debt. It’s like me going out and running up my credit card without any intention of ever paying it back. Sure, I spent the money now, giving the store a boost, but what happens when I don’t pay my bill? The store gets their money, but the bank doesn’t. So, there’s a write-off. Money is supposedly in the marketplace that’s not really there. The government spends imaginary money, so we’re only putting a band-aid on the problem.

I just can’t help but believe that if our government was smaller, if they were collecting fewer tax dollars, that our economy would be in much better shape. We would have (at least somewhat) real money to spend – and save. By encouraging deficit spending, however, our government is digging a hole of which we may never get out.

All that being said, I’m looking forward to a return of my $1500 this summer…

Advertisements