Alternative Economic Stimulus Plans

I don't like the economic stimulus plans of either the Government or the candidates. With the October 15 deadline for filing our 2007 tax returns a few days away, I've been focused on tax issues. Here's what I would propose for next year.

  • Something similar to the donation boxes for social causes on our tax returns, whereby we could specify an amount up to $10,000 of the taxes we are paying and fill in details of our credit card accounts, and the government would send that amount to the credit card companies and our debt would be reduced. This would give the credit card companies money so they could extend more credit and give consumers more money to spend.
  • A moratorium on credit card interest for 180 days. The moratorium on home foreclosures is a great idea for those whose homes are at risk, but it does nothing for renters or homeowners who are current on their mortgages. It's only fair to give everyone a break.


  • A moratorium for a year on tax penalties and interest. This would give taxpayers more money to pay their other bills including mortgage payments and health insurance premiums.
  • Tax credits for individuals buying big ticket items like new cars. If the government is going to give businesses tax credits for creating new jobs, there should be something for consumers who help out the economy by spending during these perilous times. It would also help the auto industry.
  • A tax credit equal to a percentage of money we lost in the stock market to be applied against taxes we owe.

For other late filers out there, have I missed anything?

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    Well. . . (5.00 / 2) (#6)
    by LarryInNYC on Mon Oct 13, 2008 at 09:12:06 PM EST
    1. Reduce credit card balances: Is there, in fact, a credit crunch on credit cards?  I haven't heard of that as a major issue in the current crisis.  I think there's probably another mini-bubble waiting to burst in overly large lines of credit issued to borrowers.  But the biggest problem here is that what's needed is new spending, not paying down spending that's already occurred.

    2. Moratorium on credit card interest:  This isn't really a stimulus issue since, presumably, the government wouldn't pay that money for you.  It's more of a tax on banks.  If your goal is to increase credit card spending (position 1), it seems counter-productive to tell credit card companies they won't make their money back -- that would probably drastically reduce the amount of credit available.  And the moratorium on foreclosures is not directly a financial moratorium (people would still have to pay the money they owe, they just wouldn't lose the property for a few months).  And the fact that property foreclosures hurt everyone -- not just owners -- ought to be made clear by the recent actions in Cook County.

    3. Moratorium on tax penalties and interest:  If you enact this, why would anyone pay their taxes?  I mean, it would be like the government saying "pay or don't, as you like, it won't make any difference to your bottom line".  I mean, I'd just hold all my quarterly estimated payments until tax time and keep the interest myself (and hope I had the full amount required then).

    4. Tax credit for consumer purchases: This might actually have a beneficial effect.  As an anti-consumer it sounds kind of frightful, but if you want to jump-start the consumer economy telling people that they can basically replace all their appliances for free might to the trick.  How about tax credits for substantially "green" consumer items only -- that is, for hybrid cars, high efficiency fridges, and so on?

    5. Tax credit for stock market loses: This already exists, it's called capitol loss.  You get to deduct your loses from your income, thus resulting  in a tax decrease of 30% (or whatever) of your losses.  Anything more and I think you're getting into the area of moral hazard -- letting people think you can only make money on stock investments and that the government will cover your loses.  And, of course, this favors the stock-owning class.  To be fair, you ought to give people back a portion of their lost wages as well, right?

    On #5 (none / 0) (#13)
    by Jeralyn on Mon Oct 13, 2008 at 09:17:02 PM EST
    Don't you have to sell the stock to get a capital loss and income tax reduction? I'm talking about getting a tax break if your  portfolio went down even if you didn't sell. You should be able to provide your brokerage statement and claim the deduction.

    Then you haven't lost any money. . . (5.00 / 1) (#19)
    by LarryInNYC on Mon Oct 13, 2008 at 09:23:33 PM EST
    on the stock market!

    Yes, you have to realize the loss on the stock to claim it as a capital loss, just as you only pay capital gains when you sell the stock.

    Otherwise, of course, you're going to be given people tax credits against stocks they actually make a profit on.  I could lose a bundle on stocks in one year that I sell three years later for twice what I paid for them.  Giving me a large credit for that one "theoretical" bad year doesn't seem fair to me -- I really made money on the stocks.

    And are you going to start collecting tax on the increased by unrealized value of everyone's investments at the end of the year?  That would be a wealth tax.  I'm not saying that's not a bad idea (I don't have an opinion), but it sure as heck isn't going to fly.  

    (And let me just add that I still don't know why capital gains aren't treated as regular income, at least for purely passive investors, and if anyone cares to enlighten me I'd be happy).


    Why? (none / 0) (#63)
    by Romberry on Mon Oct 13, 2008 at 10:03:03 PM EST
    If you still own the stock and the issuing company is not bankrupt, you haven't lost a thing. After all, what you bought was stock and you still own it. Hold it long enough and maybe you get your money back. Maybe not. But that's why investing in stocks brings a potentially higher reward. There is risk that you don't incur with safer investments. No way should I, the government of anyone else bail you out. That's the equivalent of heads you win and tails I lose.

    I worked for several years in the securities biz. The first thing I told every new investor was never, ever put anything into stocks that you could not afford to lose. Build your foundation with safety in bonds, CD's and other safe investments. Build on top of that with the very safest of blue chip stocks, preferably those that have a dividend and offer a DRIP. On top of that add your speculative investments that offer the chance for very high returns at the risk of losing it all. But again, as long as you own the stock you bought, you haven't lost anything except on paper until you sell. Even then, it's your problem because it was your choice. This whole "plan" is laughably bad.


    Credit cards (none / 0) (#74)
    by standingup on Tue Oct 14, 2008 at 12:05:24 AM EST
    are noted to be part of the next meltdown to hit the financials, see Business Week.  The cheap money of the last 7-8 years spilled over into consumer debt too.  The total exposure is not as great as with the mortgages but there will be increasing losses to the issuers and those who picked up the bonds they sold.  

    credit card (none / 0) (#88)
    by Jlvngstn on Tue Oct 14, 2008 at 08:51:37 AM EST
    look for that crash in February.  We are running record levels of cc debt and people are now using them to buy groceries and carrying balances longer.  As the tide stems toward higher unemployment and the duration of u/e extends, people tap into credit to pay for necessities and as long as jobs remain in negative growth as it has been for 9 straight months credit cards will see a significant rise in defaults as well.

    Ugh! This is why liberals have a bad name... (5.00 / 3) (#7)
    by klem4708 on Mon Oct 13, 2008 at 09:12:10 PM EST
    Who is going to pay the interest on the credit cards if there is a 180-day moratorium on interest? The gov't? Or did you just figure Visa could do without for 6 months?

    Do you really want to be giving the gov't your credit card account numbers? And are Americans so lazy and irresponsible that they can't send the tax refund checks to the credit card companies themselves?  (Or can't we be trusted to use the funds appropriately?)

    I consider myself to be a Democrat and fairly progressive, but when I read stuff like this, I see why Republicans get nervous.

    The only credit card moratorium... (none / 0) (#84)
    by Jerrymcl89 on Tue Oct 14, 2008 at 08:31:57 AM EST
    ... that I could get behind is a moratorium on late payment penalties. Freezing the companies' abilities to collect interest is flat-out robbing them.

    Are you kidding me? (none / 0) (#94)
    by sj on Tue Oct 14, 2008 at 10:26:53 AM EST
    Absolutely Visa can do without interest for 6 months.  Without usury laws they have been making money hand over fist.  If you don't want to do a moratorium then bring back manageable interest rates.  It used to be that 12% interest was the penalty rate.  Now that sounds almost good.  In 2006, Congress declined to cap interest rates at 30%.  Loan shark rates of my youth were 25%.  They're all loan sharks now.  Except that they'll let you owe them for life.

    I agree with you about paying credit cards directly from my income tax return.  But not because I'm afraid of giving my account numbers to the government.  Those numbers are on a computer somewhere where the government already has access to them.  That ship has sailed.  I just know I can write my own check from my tax refund.  Assuming I get a tax refund (which, personally, I always have).


    i'm folding laundry at the moment. (5.00 / 1) (#9)
    by cpinva on Mon Oct 13, 2008 at 09:13:47 PM EST
    give me a few minutes, and i will then come back and totally destroy your "proposal".

    It's only fair to give everyone a break (5.00 / 2) (#11)
    by robrecht on Mon Oct 13, 2008 at 09:16:22 PM EST
    What about tax payers who do not run up credit card debt, whose homes are not in foreclosure, who do not incur tax penalties, or who do not buy new cars?

    It seems your plan is very unfair to people who live within their means.

    you don't need any help then (5.00 / 1) (#18)
    by Jeralyn on Mon Oct 13, 2008 at 09:22:37 PM EST
    This is for people who do need help.

    Most of us don't have homes in foreclosure but the government is going to help those who do. Why not some help for the rest of us who need it?

    What about help for those who are current on their obligations but now need help them keeping their retirement plans? I keep seeing reports on the  news about people who thought they were going to retire soon and now are looking at having to keep working and some even have to learn new trades.

    Obviously, the plan isn't for Stepford citizens, but I don't know too many of those.


    Stimulus is not relief. (5.00 / 1) (#25)
    by LarryInNYC on Mon Oct 13, 2008 at 09:26:49 PM EST
    A stimulus package isn't to "help" people who need help, it's to benefit all of society by helping the broader economy.  These "we'll give you a thousand dollars to help jump start the economy" deals are just political tricks -- bribes, really.  

    The government could do a better job of stimulus by spending the money directly.


    Indeed (none / 0) (#29)
    by andgarden on Mon Oct 13, 2008 at 09:31:05 PM EST
    Give everyone a taste of the dole--or a new DVD player!

    I agree... (none / 0) (#67)
    by klem4708 on Mon Oct 13, 2008 at 10:16:58 PM EST
    The gov't isn't here to bail out individuals. It has to be concerned with the overall functioning of the economy.

    If corporations want the rights of individuals.... (5.00 / 1) (#86)
    by kdog on Tue Oct 14, 2008 at 08:40:27 AM EST
    they shouldn't get a handout either.

    Tax cutting proposals are great, but they must be coupled with corresponding decreases in spending, otherwise we're doomed.

    Why is no one talking about disbanding the DEA and other ineffectual, wasteful (not to mention tyranncial)federal entities?  My proposal for the economic crisis is going over the federal budget, both the published spending and the hidden spending (this means you, CIA)...and reduce it by half, at a minimum.  We might be in such good shape we can abolish the federal income tax all together.  Then, very few would be in need of assistance in the first place...for wage earners, imagine keeping that strange gross number on your paycheck.  Gor business owners, imagine your net being a helluva lot closer to your gross.  

    We don't need all these bombs, we don't need to be foreign occupiers, we don't need all these narcs, we don't need all these prisons, we don't need all these bueracrats sucking on our teet.


    Ridiculous (5.00 / 2) (#30)
    by robrecht on Mon Oct 13, 2008 at 09:31:23 PM EST
    Your plan would require "Stepford citizens" (insulting) and their children to pay higher taxes to pay the credit card debt of others.

    I agree we should help people who are less fortunate, but why should I pay for everyone else's credit card?

    When and how will these non-Stepford citizens learn not to run up credit card debt?

    The Stepford citizens have lost big from their retirement funds also, but now they are to be penalized further and work longer before retirement to pay for someone else's big screen TV when they have lived within their means and don't even own a flat screen TV?


    Also, with job losses coming up (none / 0) (#34)
    by nycstray on Mon Oct 13, 2008 at 09:35:08 PM EST
    many will be using emergency funds/savings or having to dip into retirement funds. They are saying now that we should have at least 8months set aside in case of a job loss (could take a year for a new job). Some folks could be all up on their payments, but they may not have enough to tide them over in unemployment.

    And factor in rising costs. Healthcare alone has really increased . . . and most cost of living increases don't cover it. Me, I just had a 7.5+% rent increase (I don't move often enough according to the new law) along with Con Ed going up every time you blink, and everything else.

    The slow bleed needs to stop.


    Just wait until inflation (none / 0) (#52)
    by BrassTacks on Mon Oct 13, 2008 at 09:48:46 PM EST
    Kicks in.  I expect inflation to explode in the next year.  With people having more money in their pockets, they'll spend more, and inflation will follow.  Or so I'm told.  

    Who's going to have more money in (5.00 / 1) (#66)
    by nycstray on Mon Oct 13, 2008 at 10:15:52 PM EST
    their pockets next year?

    I might if I kick it into high gear. Which is the plan since I'm moving, but most won't. Downturns usually favor me in my line of work, but not your average middle class and lower. A majority(?) of the country won't be spending more voluntarily in the coming months. I think it will be regional though, some areas/professions are still ok.

    Odd thought, is this the "trickle down" RR didn't expect? The masses trickling down their losses on the few . . .


    Obama is going to give everyone more money! (none / 0) (#78)
    by BrassTacks on Tue Oct 14, 2008 at 02:54:38 AM EST
    He's said so, several times.  He will give tax cuts to middle class people and expand government which also puts more money out there.  

    I think this is a real (none / 0) (#73)
    by coast on Mon Oct 13, 2008 at 11:47:12 PM EST
    possibility unfortunately.  This should be a wake up call for everyone both individually and our country as a whole.  Individually we should see that our savings rates are way too low, and household debt is way too high.  The same is true of our country.  The current account deficit is something that everyone should understand.  I have a feeling were are in for a rude awakening fairly soon.

    BrassTacks (none / 0) (#76)
    by cal1942 on Tue Oct 14, 2008 at 02:32:08 AM EST
    What we're trying to avoid is a meltdown of the economy.

    If that occurs we'll see rapid deflation, not inflation.


    That's not what happened in the 1980's (none / 0) (#79)
    by BrassTacks on Tue Oct 14, 2008 at 02:56:27 AM EST
    Both inflation and interest rates went sky high.  AND we had gas lines, but that's another story.  Things got ugly.

    You're thinking of the 70s (none / 0) (#97)
    by cal1942 on Tue Oct 14, 2008 at 12:15:42 PM EST
    not the eighties.  Inflation rate dropped in the eighties and gas lines were non-existant.

    Oops, you are correct, it was under Carter (none / 0) (#98)
    by BrassTacks on Tue Oct 14, 2008 at 11:40:24 PM EST
    in the late 1970's when we had the long gas lines and high interest.  All that was gone under Reagan in the 1980's.  

    The (none / 0) (#101)
    by cal1942 on Wed Oct 15, 2008 at 12:28:55 AM EST
    high inflation, high unemployment and gas lines began in Nixon's 2nd term with the first Arab oil embargo following the Yom Kippur war.

    The inflation rate went to double digits under Ford.

    High interest rates came under Carter's Fed chairman Paul Volcker.  The high rates were to cut the inflation rate.

    By the eighties OPEC had chilled out for economic reasons and oil became a glut on the market. Some of that glut occured because the speed limit on US and Interstate highways was cut to 55 MPH in the 70s.

    Interest rates didn't ease off until the late 80s early 90s.  Unemployment skyrocketed to over 9% under Reagan but recovered enough as gas prices eased, just in time for the 1984 election.

    I turned 21 in 1963.  I was an adult with a family during this entire period and remember it well.


    Tell me about it, (none / 0) (#62)
    by BrassTacks on Mon Oct 13, 2008 at 10:01:47 PM EST
    My dh has a very long commute to work but we were seeing the light at the end of the tunnel.  But with this market collapse, it will be years, perhaps a decade, before we afford to do that.  

    What help might we get from the government?  We've paid taxes, worked hard, and saved, for nearly 50 years.  My dh got his first job at 10 and has always saved money.  

    Now, it's our turn to be irresponsible, if that's the only way that the government will ever give back to us.  My 80-something Mother is appalled that we would do that.  But we would like to be able to retire, at least by 70 or 75.  Doesn't seem like too much to ask, since we've always paid all our bills and always saved.  


    If the markets recover... (none / 0) (#85)
    by Jerrymcl89 on Tue Oct 14, 2008 at 08:34:26 AM EST
    ... then most people's retirement funds will as well, at least partially. An overreaching, massively debt-incurring bailout plan is likely to be a drag on the markets long term, and cause more pain then it prevents.

    How is Obama going to make the market (none / 0) (#99)
    by BrassTacks on Tue Oct 14, 2008 at 11:42:05 PM EST
    Come back?  Or how would John McCain?  If I knew one of them could do that, I'd vote for him!  

    I agree with this (none / 0) (#16)
    by andgarden on Mon Oct 13, 2008 at 09:20:05 PM EST
    OK, then (none / 0) (#54)
    by rdandrea on Mon Oct 13, 2008 at 09:50:11 PM EST
    let's add a tax credit of 50 cents on the dollar for every dollar you save instead of spend.

    This really is a good idea (none / 0) (#59)
    by robrecht on Mon Oct 13, 2008 at 09:52:40 PM EST
    Then we would never need a bail-out in the first place.  Not necessarily 50 cents, but it is very much in the interest of the common good to encourage fiscal responsibility and savings.

    Works for me! (none / 0) (#100)
    by BrassTacks on Tue Oct 14, 2008 at 11:42:51 PM EST
    That would be awesome!  We could retire tomorrow!  AND keep our house!  

    Yup, that's our problem too (none / 0) (#36)
    by BrassTacks on Mon Oct 13, 2008 at 09:36:30 PM EST
    We've always been too responsible.  There's nothing to be gained by doing that anymore.  We're figuring that if DH retires we can stop paying our mortgage, and eventually get he principal reduced, as well as the interest and monthly payment reduced.  In the meantime, we've saved thousands on payments.  We could give our kids some of that money.  I guess it's also time to run up big credit card bills too, if the interest will be forgiven.  

    Everyone could have a GREAT Christmas!!!  With NO hangover in the New Year!  

    Happy Days are indeed here again!  


    Better yet, just take the money and run! (none / 0) (#41)
    by andgarden on Mon Oct 13, 2008 at 09:39:56 PM EST
    wouldn't it be great to hear a candidate (none / 0) (#42)
    by Jeralyn on Mon Oct 13, 2008 at 09:41:18 PM EST
    say that? We'd sure have a difference between the parties again.

    But it's the Republicans (none / 0) (#44)
    by robrecht on Mon Oct 13, 2008 at 09:42:56 PM EST
    who really believe in that, NOT the Democrats.

    No! Republicans hate handouts! (none / 0) (#47)
    by BrassTacks on Mon Oct 13, 2008 at 09:45:31 PM EST
    They don't want to give any of us a break!

    No, they just give the hand-outs to themselves (5.00 / 2) (#53)
    by robrecht on Mon Oct 13, 2008 at 09:49:22 PM EST
    and to all the other rich people.

    Why is the generalization (none / 0) (#69)
    by coast on Mon Oct 13, 2008 at 10:57:31 PM EST
    always that republicans are rich.  I hate that statement.  I'm republican and I'm by no means rich.  Are all the democrats poor?  I don't think so.

    If you're a (5.00 / 1) (#77)
    by cal1942 on Tue Oct 14, 2008 at 02:34:40 AM EST
    Republican of modest means you're enabling looting by the very rich.

    Relax (none / 0) (#82)
    by robrecht on Tue Oct 14, 2008 at 06:20:14 AM EST
    That was not my generalization.  Elected Republicans in a position to give out hand-outs, ie, Senators and Congresspeople, are typically rich, are they not?  Same is true with most Democratic Senators and Congresspeople.

    heh (none / 0) (#46)
    by andgarden on Mon Oct 13, 2008 at 09:45:09 PM EST
    If it lets me eat ice cream without gaining weight (5.00 / 3) (#12)
    by steviez314 on Mon Oct 13, 2008 at 09:16:57 PM EST
    I'll sign on to this deal.

    I'm shaking my head.... (5.00 / 3) (#22)
    by CoralGables on Mon Oct 13, 2008 at 09:24:42 PM EST
    With us fast approaching 11 trillion in debt, why do people think putting us further in debt is a good idea?

    A big idea would be a balanced budget.

    How else are we going to get money (none / 0) (#80)
    by BrassTacks on Tue Oct 14, 2008 at 02:59:03 AM EST
    for everything?  For all the new programs?  For the tax cuts?  For all the stuff Obama is going to give us to help out with mortgages and rent, and gas prices, and everything else he's promising?  

    Is this snark? (5.00 / 2) (#27)
    by Radiowalla on Mon Oct 13, 2008 at 09:29:57 PM EST
    I have a hard time comprehending why a moratorium on credit card interest is a good idea.  I'd prefer a tax credit or some other sort of direct aid to lower income families, not a scheme to further encourage the use of credit cards to finance consumption.  

    I have a high-income friend who spends way beyond her means and finances it on credit cards.  Maybe she isn't typical, but I have a problem with rushing in to support anyone in her category.

    We need to stop over-consuming and start saving and these proposals seem to encourage consumption.  

    it's more (none / 0) (#35)
    by Jeralyn on Mon Oct 13, 2008 at 09:35:20 PM EST

    That's what I thought at first (none / 0) (#37)
    by robrecht on Mon Oct 13, 2008 at 09:38:38 PM EST
    until you kept it up.

    Whew! (none / 0) (#50)
    by Radiowalla on Mon Oct 13, 2008 at 09:47:50 PM EST
    I was worried.



    ok, back (5.00 / 1) (#58)
    by cpinva on Mon Oct 13, 2008 at 09:51:41 PM EST
    "stepford citizens"? oh, you mean those of us foolish enough to actually live within our means, as we were taught to do? those the people you're referring to?

    shame on you jeralyn!

    1. reduction of credit card balance, by a tax contribution: there is no credit card crunch at the moment, and why should the gov't (us) be bailing out profligate spenders? the credit card companies have made huge profits out of giving every one who's even remotely breathing (or at least appears to be) a credit card. let them eat cake.

    this is hardly equitable to those of us who don't buy everything we want, because we can put it on credit. health care costs are an entirely different issue. however, if you feel so inclined, i'm certain that any of the card companies would be more than happy to take your money.

    1. moratorium on credit card interest: credit card interest and foreclosure are two mutually exclusive items. as larry noted above, the homeowner still owes and must pay the mortgage, including interest. how would this be equitable again?

    2. moratorium on tax penalties & interest: as larry noted, what would be any self-employed person's incentive to actually make timely estimated tax payments (and that's who we're really talking about here), absent any adverse consequence for failing to do so? how is this equitable for those who have their taxes withheld at the source, by their employers?

    3. tax credits for big ticket consumer items: how about an increase in the credit for alternative energy sources instead? do we really need more gas guzzling, environment polluting SUV's on the roads?

    4. a credit for unrecognized losses on stocks: why, you haven't actually "lost" anything, unless you sold it. if so, you get a capital loss, to the extent of your gains, plus $3,000 (for individuals). are you planning on also recognizing, as taxable income, the "gains" made when your unsold stock comes back up? i didn't think so.

    capital losses are a deduction, not a credit.

    frankly, i don't care for the whole "let's bail out the banks, etc, who got into this mess because of their unbridled greed, and the bush administration's total lack of responsible oversight." bills either. again, let them eat cake.

    supposedly, back in the late 80's, when the last big bank bust hit, the sky was going to fall, unless the gov't bailed out everyone. the gov't didn't, and the sky didn't fall. it won't fall this time either.

    I'm with Hillary (5.00 / 3) (#68)
    by Coral on Mon Oct 13, 2008 at 10:34:27 PM EST
    Jobs, baby, jobs.

    Living wages -- no more "working poor" or parents having to hold down 2 or more jobs to make ends meet.

    Infrastructure. Fix roads, bridges, crumbling sewer lines.

    Green energy jobs.

    Get everybody working at decent rages and the economy will soar.

    How are we going to get jobs and (none / 0) (#81)
    by BrassTacks on Tue Oct 14, 2008 at 03:00:49 AM EST
    make them pay well?  

    Oh, sorry.  You probably mean new government jobs.  I support that, for sure.   The heck with the deficit!  


    the deficit is what it is (5.00 / 2) (#87)
    by Jlvngstn on Tue Oct 14, 2008 at 08:48:15 AM EST
    and spending money on infrastructure brings money right back to the gov't.  The businesses who hire people or employ people pay payroll tax on the money from the contracts, plus income tax.  the employees and contractors pay state and local tax on the wages.  They pay sales tax on all items purchased by business and consumers. States have money to spend so they stop the layoffs (more than 20 states at this point are laying off and cities are right behind them).

    Most importantly though, it creates new jobs to help stem the tide of 8 years of failed policy.  America is at its strongest economically and militarily when job creation nets higher than job loss.  

    Having new jobs will prevent more foreclosures, spikes in crime, mental health issues, family crises, bankruptcies and spiral effect of job losses.  People having jobs will pay down their credit/debt, pay their mortgages/rent and put food on the table.

    You fund the bad times and cut when private economy is booming.  There is more than enough speculation that a green economy will spur another jobs boom that will allow us to sell that technology at home and abroad.  

    If we weren't so friggin stupid allowing the "causes" of climate change to affect policy for the past 8 years, we would be 8 years ahead of the world in addressing it and more importantly selling same technology to the world.

    Drill baby drill is the exact reason we are not leading the world in green tech.  We are saving dinosaurs that should be moving toward extinction.  Which is surprising to me because most republican leaders don't care for preservation.

    Address the jobs situation and in 3 years watch private industry capitalize on the movement and then do what Bill Clinton did, which is start paying down the debt aggressively and pulling out of gov't funding.  Those people working for the gov't will transfer to private jobs as the vacancy rate and need for employees in the private sector will be exponentially higher.

    Someone once said "deficits don't matter".  It is right if you are investing in technology that will create rapid, globally attractive products to offset same investments in a matter of years.  This has been the cycle of global economies for centuries, i am not citing anything new.

    The challenge is convincing people like you that a "new deal" is good and that investing in a deficit ridden economy will not bankrupt us.  The problem is that people like you have a healthy fear of bankruptcy because having 10% of your population unemployed is a hell of a lot better than a national bankruptcy.....


    Been saying this for nearly a year (none / 0) (#95)
    by Jlvngstn on Tue Oct 14, 2008 at 10:48:05 AM EST
    and "tapped" has it today in one of its articles:

    "Paterson has become a budget and tax cutter. Some of his advisers, including Columbia University Nobel-winning economist Joseph Stiglitz, are wondering whether Paterson grasps the basics of Keynsian economic policy: When in a recession, it is crucial to increase social spending to stimulate the economy and create jobs. "


    worth repeating (5.00 / 1) (#96)
    by Jlvngstn on Tue Oct 14, 2008 at 11:21:13 AM EST
    jobs (5.00 / 3) (#23)
    by Jlvngstn on Fri Aug 01, 2008 at 11:01:25 AM

    will continue to worsen through the end of this year and we will be over 6% easily.  We still have the credit crisis which is separate from the housing crisis that has not flushed out yet.  Our deficit is too high to apply Keynesian principles for a recovery and with higher unemployment and less spending, there will be gov't layoffs as well.  We are in a sour pickle that is moving toward a prolonged recession. Without the 90 billion band aid from the gov't we could call this a recession officially.  they could do 3 more rebates and it won't solve the problems of the economy.  Job creation is the only way to address the ongoing credit/housing crisis and we are cutting jobs at too high a pace.  Job creation programs allow people to work o.t. and simply work which help them pay down their debt which eases the credit crisis.  Without job creation, credit crisis will become much worse and recession will be a long one.  The sickness of the economy is being overshadowed by the steadiness of the market which is stabilized by companies announcing restructures (layoffs) to cut costs and maintain shareholder value.  Look for the market to stumble heavily in Sept and Oct right before the election (more in Oct) and fear the October Monday doomsday scenario.  Had we not gone to war the government ala keynesian philosophy could be investing reserves into infrastructure thus creating millions of jobs and killing the credit crisis in its tracks.  As it stands, we blew that cash and have very limited options to help the american people.  The war was bad on a lot of fronts but the damage it has done to the US financially is bloody awful.

    I like your plan (none / 0) (#1)
    by Big Tent Democrat on Mon Oct 13, 2008 at 08:55:20 PM EST

    seriously? (none / 0) (#2)
    by Jeralyn on Mon Oct 13, 2008 at 08:58:34 PM EST
    I thought you would be the first to mock it. Very cool.

    You're thinking big (none / 0) (#4)
    by Big Tent Democrat on Mon Oct 13, 2008 at 09:02:48 PM EST
    and you're thinking Main Street.

    It is exactly the type of thinking we need now.


    I'd have to think a bit (none / 0) (#3)
    by andgarden on Mon Oct 13, 2008 at 09:01:12 PM EST
    about the credit card payment thing.

    Somehow I think I'd be laughed away if I just asked for the cash equivalent, but it seems mighty hard to justify subsidizing only debt put on credit cards.

    How about a $10,000 credit for healthcare expenses or costs related to housing?

    health care expenses (none / 0) (#8)
    by Jeralyn on Mon Oct 13, 2008 at 09:12:46 PM EST
    already are deductible, provided they exceed a certain amount of your income. Also, health insurance premiums are deductible for self employed individuals who aren't corporations.

    Right now, the government is going to bail out banks, including those that issue credit cards, without giving any help to consumers who owe the debt. Why not let the stimulus help both?

    If the problem with the economy is that credit is drying up, this would give the banks more money to lend and help consumers at the same time, instead of just helping those who give out credit.


    The problem here (5.00 / 2) (#15)
    by andgarden on Mon Oct 13, 2008 at 09:18:08 PM EST
    is that you risk subsidizing people who were irresponsible with their credit card purchases. The idea that that proposal would make credit card companies somehow offer more credit might be true, but I have no idea if it would. It seems to me that the credit card companies are just generally being hit by the overall credit crunch, which is related to questionably-valued mortgage derivatives.

    But if you just want to bail out consumers, do it by cutting them a refund check. Don't require that they have debt in order to get help.


    Good idea! (none / 0) (#23)
    by BrassTacks on Mon Oct 13, 2008 at 09:26:18 PM EST
    Under most plans we get penalized because we pay off our credit cards every month and we aren't delinquent on our mortgage.  I hate it that we must be irresponsible to get money.  How about rewarding those who pay their bills?  How about paying my mortgage even though I haven't stopped paying it?  Rewarding those who have lived rent or mortgage free for months doesn't seem quite fair.  It encourages more of us to stop paying our rent/mortgage.  Ditto a bailout for those have been irresponsible with their credit cards.  If the government is paying their bills, then I want mine paid too, even if I haven't been irresponsible.  

    The problem here (none / 0) (#33)
    by arguewithmydad com on Mon Oct 13, 2008 at 09:34:29 PM EST
    Aren't we subsidizing the banks that were irresponsible in their business dealing?  Why is that any different then people who were irresponsible with their cards.  I think Jeralyn is suggesting that all credit cards get relief the same way that the banks did and then people would buy more and help out the economy.

    When you bail out banks, (none / 0) (#38)
    by andgarden on Mon Oct 13, 2008 at 09:38:43 PM EST
    you aren't offering to subsidize millions of individual people who bought shoes, handbags, computers, TVs, and other big ticket items.

    I'm happy to have the government help pay down essentials like healthcare costs and living expenses, but why should responsible people be paying for previous frivolous purchases?


    I am so over that (none / 0) (#93)
    by sj on Tue Oct 14, 2008 at 10:08:34 AM EST
    you risk subsidizing people who were irresponsible with their credit card purchases

    We can't lend a helping hand because some one who doesn't deserve it might inadvertantly benefit?  That's the modern equivalent of the "welfare queen" slur.  Punish the many rather than benefit the few who are unworthy.

    And while I am not very conversant in economic theory, I was really surprised to see this statement.

    But if you just want to bail out consumers, do it by cutting them a refund check. Don't require that they have debt in order to get help.

    The problem right now IS debt.  Everybody's debt.  Individual, corporate, national debt.  We did that refund check thing a few months ago.  How much did it help?


    Also, it's great to get a tax deduction (none / 0) (#17)
    by andgarden on Mon Oct 13, 2008 at 09:21:48 PM EST
    for healthcare expenses, but what do people do in the meantime, and what about people who aren't eligible? Many put the cost on a credit card, and I'd say it's entirely legitimate to have the government pay down that debt.

    I just don't want to be paying down the flat screen TVs that other people bought by being irresponsible while other people get nothing.


    One thing you might do (5.00 / 3) (#24)
    by andgarden on Mon Oct 13, 2008 at 09:26:42 PM EST
    is to offer low interest government loans to people who have credit card debt. People would still have to pay the money back, but they wouldn't be crushed by huge interest payments.

    Of course, you could just offer no-questions-asked government loans to anyone for some period of time.


    I like that (none / 0) (#31)
    by Jeralyn on Mon Oct 13, 2008 at 09:31:45 PM EST
    kind of like student loans from the sixties. One or two percent loans with a 20 year payoff like a mortgage would be perfect.  Am I in Utopia yet?

    No doc loans (none / 0) (#70)
    by coast on Mon Oct 13, 2008 at 11:03:00 PM EST
    I don't think people are ready for this given our current situation.

    Exactly -- make it housing (none / 0) (#10)
    by Cream City on Mon Oct 13, 2008 at 09:15:47 PM EST
    as in my state (I don't know about others), where our state forms give renters a breaking on heating costs, too (we're one of the states on the Canadian border -- and the huge increase in heating costs, just like gas in autos, will mean bills that will make a lot of folks broke this winter).

    Work with the existing Homestead Credit Law -- or it's called something like that -- which has given my kids and many students and poor people breaks on their housing costs as renters, too.

    And definitely lower the minimum, the floor, for deducting health care costs.  What is it now, %7500 for some pretzelification of an extrapolation of 7% of our insurance and other costs?  I know students who had to drop out of school because they broke a leg and couldn't pay tuition bills, too.  My kids and others I know had to move back home because they can't make rent when hit with surgery, since so little is covered once they're 24 and off our insurance and getting no benefits at all or lousy individual coverage or, between jobs when they're the first fired, the federal joke called COBRA.  


    Housing expenses are crushing (none / 0) (#21)
    by andgarden on Mon Oct 13, 2008 at 09:24:26 PM EST
    for many people, even some with decent incomes.

    Doing something about that might be useful.


    I'm all about getting my mortgage reduced! (none / 0) (#26)
    by BrassTacks on Mon Oct 13, 2008 at 09:29:54 PM EST
    That would be awesome.  Do you think Obama will reduce everyone's mortgage?  Will the government pay part of everyone's mortgage?  Reduce payments for everyone?  If so, they will have to extend that to all new homeowners too, or banks won't want to give new mortgages.  Free housing for everyone?  Or just a reduction in all mortgage and rent payments?  

    Hey, I understand your POV (none / 0) (#32)
    by andgarden on Mon Oct 13, 2008 at 09:33:20 PM EST
    there's a moral hazard element to all of this.

    Give too many handouts, and we might as well start paying in Zimbabwe Dollars.


    I think I've mentioned the inflation (none / 0) (#60)
    by BrassTacks on Mon Oct 13, 2008 at 09:55:13 PM EST
    That's on the way.  Oh well.  It's all tradeoffs.  More handouts, more inflation.  <shrugs>

    fairness... (none / 0) (#5)
    by jerry on Mon Oct 13, 2008 at 09:03:46 PM EST
    A moratorium on credit card interest for 180 days. The moratorium on home foreclosures is a great idea for those whose homes are at risk, but it does nothing for renters or homeowners who are current on their mortgages. It's only fair to give everyone a break.

    Thank you!

    I fall into this invisible citizen category.  I earn too much to qualify for most of the proposed tax breaks, but due to child support costs, I actually live paycheck to paycheck in a small apartment.  So no house for me, and yes, it's frustrating to see everyone else get something....

    How dare you (none / 0) (#14)
    by nycstray on Mon Oct 13, 2008 at 09:17:49 PM EST
    put something out there for us renters!  ;)

    As a single woman with no dependents, you warm my heart. You never once mentioned families!  ;D

    You just made me think of something (none / 0) (#20)
    by nycstray on Mon Oct 13, 2008 at 09:24:07 PM EST
    shouldn't this bailout include, once and for all . . . equal pay for women?! Methinks that might help the economy a tad . . .

    I love that idea too! (none / 0) (#40)
    by BrassTacks on Mon Oct 13, 2008 at 09:39:50 PM EST
    ALL women get more money with this bailout, regardless of marital status or parenthood! A bonus check for everyone woman in the US!  I love it.  

    Not a one time bonus check (5.00 / 1) (#48)
    by nycstray on Mon Oct 13, 2008 at 09:45:34 PM EST
    equal pay for equal work, for once and for all.

    I've heard the words "You make a fine salary for a woman." And down the road, that if I had a kid, maybe I would be worth more, but in the meantime, you can work more than mothers. I work for myself now  ;)


    You know what I don't get? (none / 0) (#56)
    by BrassTacks on Mon Oct 13, 2008 at 09:51:11 PM EST
    Since women are paid less, why doesn't a company only hire women?  They can pay them less and then make more money than their competitors.  Why hasn't any business taken advantage of that?  Why don't companies just hire women?  They'd make more money.  

    It's a guy "thing" ;) (none / 0) (#61)
    by nycstray on Mon Oct 13, 2008 at 09:58:17 PM EST
    some companies do hire lots of women. It's promoting them that is one of the issues. And then of course, they can't look like they are just hiring women (slave) labor anymore than they can child (slave) labor. And then of course, in some jobs, both men and women are being underpaid, women just more so.

    What's interesting is, McCain actually does well when hiring women and women in hirer positions along with pay. He also has no problem using them as advisers and spokespeople/representatives.


    Women college grads start at the same pay (5.00 / 1) (#72)
    by Cream City on Mon Oct 13, 2008 at 11:26:43 PM EST
    as men grads in my state, according to a study.

    Five years later, women in the very same job tracks are falling behind.  Ten years after graduation, they're well behind.  In the same fields, and fulltime, and all the other factors are the same.

    Except that guys got the promotions.  Women applied, but guys got the promotions.

    Been there.  In my earlier field of nonprofit development, the next step -- for all the ones before me, all guys -- was fundraiser.  When I'd put in the standard time, paid all the dues, and an opening came, I applied.  I was told that women aren't good at raising money.

    The fools!  Of course, women are so good at getting money for good causes, for centuries now, that guys don't even know we got it away from them.  Btw, today, women have made great strides in the field.  In my era, I was stuck, so I got out for a field where I would not be held back.  But it still is happening in too many fields.

    And it is our economy that suffers when the majority of the population is held back from contributing all that it could.


    Bush seemed to like women too, his lawyer (none / 0) (#64)
    by BrassTacks on Mon Oct 13, 2008 at 10:05:00 PM EST
    and closest aides were women.  

    Does Obama have women in higher positions too? Is his chief of staff a woman?  


    I hate to say this, (none / 0) (#45)
    by BrassTacks on Mon Oct 13, 2008 at 09:43:59 PM EST
    But wasn't that McCain's idea to give tax credits to technology and energy innovators?  

    Wouldn't that reward more men since more men are engineers of all kinds?  

    Not if women are treated equal (none / 0) (#57)
    by nycstray on Mon Oct 13, 2008 at 09:51:16 PM EST
    more young women are enrolling and graduating from college than young men. If we start treating them equal in the lesser grades, support equality in higher education and make sure the new grads not only are paid equally now, but 5yrs down the road they still are, the economy could see a difference. Even in green jobs and new tech that don't require higher ed, we need equality.

    We need to stop just taking care of the cream at the top.


    I believe (none / 0) (#71)
    by coast on Mon Oct 13, 2008 at 11:14:54 PM EST
    that the credit is aimed at businesses not individuals.  So so equality should not be an issue.

    Nice proposal, Jeralyn ... (none / 0) (#75)
    by Robot Porter on Tue Oct 14, 2008 at 01:54:01 AM EST
    I'm shocked that some people on this thread are defending Credit Card companies and their usury-level interest rates.

    I guess that shows how deep the corporate propaganda has reached.

    It makes me rather sad.

    I would never defend a cc company... (none / 0) (#89)
    by kdog on Tue Oct 14, 2008 at 08:52:10 AM EST
    but I do believe that when you sign an agreement you honor it.  If you didn't read or understand it, its on you...personal responsibility.

    That's why I don't have a major CC...I won't sign their agreement at their rip-off rates and let 'em leech of my labor just so I can have a stereo today that I don't have the cash for yet...I can wait and save for it, as it should be.


    You do realize ... (none / 0) (#90)
    by Robot Porter on Tue Oct 14, 2008 at 09:10:57 AM EST
    most CC interest rates won't stand up in court, especially if they become ridiculously compounded.  Judges see them as usury.

    CC companies take many actions that are close to criminal that is when they're not actually criminal.

    And you aren't required to honor a contract that violates the law.


    Apparently.... (none / 0) (#92)
    by kdog on Tue Oct 14, 2008 at 10:03:51 AM EST
    they stand up in some courts...like Delaware courts.

    If the cc company violated the agreement, thats one thing.  If the acted within the agreement, its on the rube for signing their life away.


    Windfall for CC Companies (none / 0) (#91)
    by robrecht on Tue Oct 14, 2008 at 09:35:25 AM EST
    I do not defend CC interest rates.  Nor do I think the government (you and me) should pay them for someone else's big screen TV.  Reform the law that governs CC companies, don't give them a windfall.