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Why refuse to recognize what's behind our economic woes?
Economic stimulus plan fails to address the nation's real economic problems

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RICHARD AMRHINE
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Date published: 2/17/2008

By Richard Amrhine

AN OVERWEIGHT man with heart issues collapses and seems barely alive on the floor. In rush the medics to apply a defibrillator. His eyes open up and he's breathing. After a couple of minutes, his color returns, he's helped to his feet, and he gets on with the rest of his day. No concern about what's causing his problems; no trip to the hospital for tests and a closer look.

That's the approach Congress and President Bush have taken with their economic stimulus package: a stopgap measure that fails to address the economy's serious flaws. It's a classic case of trying to solve a problem by throwing money at it, orchestrated by so-called statesmen who figure their ratings might go up if they pay off their constituents.

The president on Wednesday signed the measure, which was sent to his desk by backslapping congressmen singing their own praises for a bipartisan job well done. You'd think they'd diverted an asteroid from colliding with Earth.

How short do they think our memories are? Do they think that simply sending us money with the assumption we'll spend it will make everything rosy again?

Believe it or not, many Americans will use the money wisely. Of course, some will behave like the federal government: spend it on something twice as costly and put themselves deeper in debt.

The stimulus plan will cost an estimated $168 billion, which will be automatically added to the deficit because there is no actual money to pay for it. The deficit for fiscal 2007 was $163 billion, and it was expected to swell to $250 billion this year thanks to the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan, and ongoing hurricane recovery. Tack on the stimulus package and it soars well above $400 billion.

put on thinking caps

While most Americans, myself included, will welcome the bonus tax rebate that's coming our way, let's also remind our "leadership" that it's not yet time to remove those economic thinking caps. Let's look at the causes of our economic woes and the unhealthy habits we need to change.

Economic experts saw this downturn coming: Wouldn't it have made sense to invest that $168 billion, perhaps in the infrastructure improvements we need, and prime the economic pump that way?


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