The economic "stimulus" bonanza needs a new name

Forget about that shopping spree -- the President says rebate checks will help us cope with rising energy and food prices. Hey, it's not as humiliating as food stamps


Andrew Leonard
May 2, 2008 11:28PM (UTC)

While delivering boiler-plate remarks on the economy in St. Louis, Missouri on Friday, President Bush touted the economic stimulus rebate checks that are in the mail as just what the doctor ordered for a sick economy -- with a new twist.

"This money is going to be very helpful in helping people deal with high energy prices and food prices," said the President.

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Wait just a minute! I was under the impression that the goal of the cash infusion was to get American consumers to boost their spending on goods and services, so as to kickstart the economy back into steroid-fueled action. But if what actually happens is that we end up spending our checks on gasoline, bread, milk, and eggs that we would most likely have been forced to pay for anyway, with or without the assistance of extra cash, then we won't really be consuming more of anything, we'll just be holding even.

I don't think this wholly undermines the rationale for an infusion -- a little assistance paying the bills right now will surely be appreciated by millions of Americans. But maybe we should stop calling the payout an "economic stimulus" plan and come up with more accurate technology.

Nominations for a new title are hereby in order. Here are a few suggestions to prime the pump.

The Oh-My-God-Gas-Is-Four-Dollars-A-Gallon plan.

The Help-Americans-Keep-Their-Necks-Above-Water plan.

The Hey-It's-Less-Embarrassing-Than-Food-Stamps plan.

Do your best. I will announce a winner at my own discretion.


Andrew Leonard

Andrew Leonard is a staff writer at Salon. On Twitter, @koxinga21.

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