Feature

Billing our kids for today’s ‘stimulus’

The economy now has a bad case of indigestion for a simple reason—bad loans, said economist Andrew A. Samwick. Why, then, does the medicine the federal government is prescribing consist entirely of another bad loan? The $150 billion “stimulus package’’ th

Andrew A. SamwickThe Washington Post

The economy now has a bad case of indigestion for a simple reason—bad loans, said economist Andrew A. Samwick. Why, then, does the medicine the federal government is prescribing consist entirely of another bad loan? The $150 billion “stimulus package’’ that President Bush and Congress are rushing to deliver will give tax rebates to low- and middle-income households and businesses in the hope of stimulating spending. But the U.S. government is already operating at a whopping deficit, and every penny of that $150 billion will have to be borrowed from some future generation. “Why are we entitled to pass on this additional debt?’’ We’re not, but politicians “fear that they will be punished in November for an economic downturn unless they do ‘something’ to avoid it.’’ And so the same old cycle continues: A government that spends hundreds of billions it doesn’t have even in good economic times, and then spends even more during recessions, in order to ensure politicians’ re-election.

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