» We were generally supportive of the 2009 stimulus package, but aspects of it are starting to seem a bit questionable, to say the least. Case in point: 2,200 students and staff in the town of Owensboro, Kentucky will soon be enjoying a free Macbook Air, courtesy of the Recovery and Reinvestment Act. While we’re all for providing students with the technical competency needed to compete in the 21st-century global economy, you don’t really need to give everyone a Macbook Air to do that. The cheapest Air is $999; if we assume, for the sake of argument, that Apple gave Owensboro a 50% bulk discount, that’s still over a million dollars of federal money being spent so kids can have free laptops. Opponents of “wasteful government spending,” your Exhibit A is right here.
On its current economic trajectory, the United States runs the risk of seeing millions of workers unemployed or underemployed for many years. As a society, we should find that outcome unacceptable.Federal Reserve Chief Ben Bernanke • Explaining why the much-maligned stimulus plan (which involves shoving $600 billion into the economy whether it likes it or not) is necessary to save the economy. Republicans and Tea Partiers claim that the plan could raise prices of essentials such as food. Internationally, there’s worries about the stimulus driving down the value of the dollar (thereby making exports to the U.S. more desirable). Republicans in Congress are talking about stripping the Fed of its mandate to promote full employment as a result of this action. We’d like to see Republicans, rather than reacting to things they don’t like, offering up ideas. Is it really that hard, guys? You’ve had two-plus years. Where are your economy-fixing ideas? source (via • follow)
» Why nobody noticed: Well, Obama’s method for doling out the tax cuts was a little weird. Most people expect tax cuts on the back end, in the form of giant refund checks. Obama, on the other hand, put the cuts (as part of his $787 billion stimulus plan) directly in paychecks, to be distributed slowly, week to week. In a way, it’s brilliant because nobody thinks about a couple extra bucks in their paycheck and will spend the money like nothing ever happened. But in another way, it means the effects of the stimulus went unnoticed by millions of people. Hmm. For point of comparison, most people are well-aware of Bush’s tax cuts.