Wednesday, September 10, 2008

Stimulating bad behavior

Congress is thinking about another "stimulus package" to "jump-start" the economy:
The shape of the stimulus package is still undecided, but proposals to repair roads, extend federal unemployment benefits, increase home energy subsidies, provide disaster assistance payments and provide aid to automakers are expected to be considered.
(source: Associated Press)
Umm, yeah. So the first stimulus package didn't work; Congress printed money and gave it out, and gee willikers! Surprise Surprise! We got higher inflation that wiped out any stimulating effect!

This time, they're not going to make the mistake of trusting you and me to spend the money they print; instead, they're going to spend it on Worthy Projects.

Like bailing out the US automakers. After all, how could they have known that making environmentally-unfriendly SUVs would someday become unprofitable?

Or encouraging homeowners to keep their energy-inefficient appliances and furnaces by increasing home energy subsidies. No, we mustn't let market forces push people into being more energy-efficient; that would be painful for all the existing businesses that make lots of money doing things the old-fashioned way (by lobbying Washington to prop up their dying industries).

I'm generally an optimist when it comes to prospects for our environment, economy, and community; I believe that, overall, we're getting healthier, wealthier and wiser, and we're paying more attention to the well-being of each other and the planet.

My big worry is that we've concentrated too much power into the hands of a small number of people, and that they'll manage to screw things up really badly all in the name of "helping" or "saving" or "stimulating."

1 comment:

Unknown said...

We need to get rid of the corporate-socialists in Washington and not give them another 4 years! And we need to make sure that if the folks who are more comfortable with decentralized authority get in, that they don't backslide.

Unfortunately, perceptions are the complete reverse as to who is for less government power! Unbelievable . . .