Back in June, Democrat Presidential nominee Barack Obama suggested that a second stimulus check was necessary. I wrote about it because this was hot on the heels of the first stimulus check and it appeared as though Obama was catering to the masses. In reality, he was running point on a proposal House Democrats were pushing because so many of their proposals were left out of the first stimulus package.
With the credit freeze only now thawing, with both consumer borrowing and spending down, and with the prospects of a weak retail holiday season and rising unemployment, a second stimulus package designed to give our economy a shot in the arm looks pretty appealing now. Even Fed Chairman Ben Bernanke, in testimony given before the House Budget Committee, endorsed the idea of a stimulus package. More importantly, the White House said it would consider additional spending measures; it’s not an all-out endorsement of a second package but it’s better than flat out rejection.
Before anyone gets all giddy, most experts are saying nothing would happen until after the November 4th election. As it stands, most reports are saying that most of the proposals being pushed for the second stimulus package involved measures that were dropped from the first stimulus package. Those proposals included infrastructure improvements and extension of unemployment benefits & food stamps, all told costing about $150 billion or more.
Specifically, Speaker Pelosi wants to bring back a $61 billion House-passed bill:
- $37 billion in public works spending (infrastructure)
- $6 billion for jobless benefits (unemployment)
- $15 billion to help states pay for Medicaid bills
- $3 billion in food stamp assistance
- A stimulus check (tax rebate) of some kind, though no details
I am not a fan of the “stimulus check” concept (is it really spending if we are just borrowing from the future?) and I don’t see how all the other spending is going to stimulate the economy (it’s said that the public works spending could be implemented very quickly, thus producing jobs… but it’s public works, that just sounds like it would take a long time). Jobless benefits and food stamp assistance will lessen the pain but they don’t stimulate the economy. Finally, in most states you already get twenty-six weeks of unemployment, that’s six months, isn’t that fair?
I guess we’ll have to see what gets proposed.
(Photo: Tracy O)