The House passed an $819 billion economic stimulus bill Wednesday, with zero Republican support, said Theo Francis and Jane Sasseen in BusinessWeek online. The bill has about $544 billion in federal spending and $275 billion in tax cuts for individuals and businesses. “Now the focus turns to the Senate,” where the real work—and real bipartisan compromises—will happen.
The Senate should take “a month, or even two,” to get this right, said Martin Feldstein in The Washington Post. “We cannot afford an $800 billion mistake,” and the House’s version does way too little to boost national spending and employment. The tax cuts should focus on rebates for big-ticket purchases, and “well-intended” spending should go toward ready-now infrastructure projects, like freshening the military.
Actually, the “evidence is overwhelming” that the best stimulus is putting money in the hands of those who need it most, said The New York Times in an editorial. That means using it for unemployment benefits, food stamps, aid to states, and tax breaks for the poor and middle class. Despite the GOP’s “mostly ideological” complaints, the House bill “directs most of its resources where they would do the most good.”
Let’s put the competing theories—tax cuts versus Keynesian government spending—to the test, said Rush Limbaugh in The Wall Street Journal. Obama beat John McCain 54 percent to 46 percent, so he can spend 54 percent of the stimulus on “infrastructure and pork.” I’ll spend the rest on cutting capital gains and corporate tax rates. Then we compare to “see which stimulus actually works. This is bipartisanship!”