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Stimulating the Economy

January 22, 2008 - by Donny Shaw

As the Senate convenes today for its first full session back from recess, it seems like the policy makers in D.C. have only one thing on their minds: designing and enacting an economic stimulus plan to help the country through an impending recession. You might have caught some of the front-page features on this in the papers over the weekend, or some of the chatter on blogs, and you’ve probably seen today’s news that the Fed made a serious cut to the interest rate. Here’s what people are saying about what’s coming down the pipe.

As discouraging economic indicators keep coming in faster and faster, the Bush Administration and most in Congress have come to agree that some kind of quick and targeted fiscal plan is needed to inject money into the economy and give it a boost. But there is disagreement over many of the details: how big the overall package should be, if there should be an upper income limit on who can receive the benefits, if lower-income benefits such as unemployment insurance and food stamps should be extended, and more.

Economic uncertainty has been evident for the past several weeks by following visitors on OpenCongress, especially their investigations into the “subprime” lending crisis in the housing market and its affects on the greater economy. For example, the “”http://www.opencongress.org/bill/110-h3648/show">Mortgage
Forgiveness Debt Relief Act of 2007" has been the most-viewed bill on the site for the past few weeks, and users have made tax
rebates
the fourth most-viewed issue area on the site. Also, the latest five bills in the Economic
Policy
issue area contain two bills marked as “hot” by OpenCongress bloggers.

We have put together a collection of some of the recent news and blog coverage that has accompanied the initial talks in DC about what should be in the economic stimulus package. Check them out to get a sense of all the different factors, theories and politics shaping the debate. It seems to me that bloggers from both sides of the aisle agree on at least a couple of things: that for this to be effective, it has to happen fast; and that lawmakers should resist the requests of special-interest lobbyists.

The package is expected to be formally introduced into Congress as a bill sometime soon, but until it is, consider this the space for sharing your thoughts on it. Check out some of the links below and then feel free to leave a comment discussing how you think the stimulus should be designed, or highlighting an overlooked provision, or prognosticating how you think it will eventually be passed. We figure that, since the problems in the economy are affecting all of us, we should all be able to have our say on what can be done to help the situation.

Pictured above is President Bush, VP Cheney and US Treasury Secretary Henry Paulson talking about the economy at the White House.

News Coverage from the past week:

  • Bloomberg:
    “Fed Cuts Rate 0.75 Percentage Point in Emergency Move” (Jan. 22, 2008)
  • AP:
    “White House Flexible on Stimulus Plan” (Jan. 22, 2008)
  • AP:
    “White House Mulls Stimulus Plan”
  • AP:
    “Schumer: Expand Those Helped by Stimulus”
  • NYT:
    “Tax Rebate or Payment? A Policy Debate Begins”
  • Slate:
    “Stimulating Problems” (in “Today’s Paper’s” feature, Jan. 17 2008)
  • Bloomberg:
    “Bush Stimulus Plan Includes $1,600 Rebate, People Say”
  • NPR
    Commentary
    : “Economist: Don’t Jump the Gun on Stimulus Plans”

Blog coverage from the past week:

  • TaxVox: “Stimulus: Who Should Get a Rebate?”
  • BloggingStocks:
    “An economic stimulus package in March will be too late”
  • Kiplinger
    Business Resource Center
    : “Economic Stimulus: Bush and Congress
    Agree It’s Needed – A rare bipartisan mood is putting wind in the sails
    of a stimulus package.”
  • Senatus:
    “Economic Stimulus Package By Early March?”
  • RedState:
    “‘Stimulus’ = More Big Spending”
  • OMBWatch:
    “The CAP Plan: Stimulating Debate, not Spending”
  • The
    Hill
    : " Stimulus Package May Be Answer to Declining Economy (Rep.
    Mike Conaway)"
  • Crooks
    and Liars
    : “CNN reports that Lobbyists are trying to influence the
    Economic Stimulus package”
  • OMBWatch:
    “Election Year a Stimulus for Bipartisanship?”
  • Townhall:
    “Mr. President, Don’t Stimulate Us”
  • Social
    Welfare Spot
    : “A Workable Economic Stimulus Plan from the Economic
    Policy Institute”

Have a tip? Let us know in the comments below … or paste in a link to other helpful articles.

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