President Bush signed the Economic Stimulus Act of 2008 into law on February 13th, thereby lavishing the American public with hundreds of billions of dollars in borrowed money. The first checks will soon be in the mail, but the NYT already wants more:
When Congress passed the existing stimulus package, gasoline was around $3 a gallon. By the time the rebate checks start going out in May, gasoline is likely to be well on its way to $4 a gallon. At that price, much of the $100 billion or so in rebates will go to fill Americans’ tanks, a bigger boost to nations that sell oil to the United States than to the United States itself.
Yes, please send us rebate checks every time gas prices rise. The NYT’s solution is classically Keynesian — as soon as things get rough, have the government embark on a massive spending binge with borrowed money until the economy turns around. Unfortunately, offering to pay consumers’ gas bills for them sets an absurd precedent. A better idea would be to let the economy take its medicine.
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