Money doesn't come from "Uncle Sam"
re "Money from Uncle Sam", Boulder Daily Camera, 1/25/08
One of the biggest problems with the federal government’s so-called “stimulus package” is well represented by your January 25th headline, “Money from Uncle Sam”. The implication of such a description makes a reader feel that he’s getting a birthday gift or an inheritance rather than simply a return of his own money or, even worse, money which the government pilfered from someone else who had the political misfortune to earn a decent living.
I am not implying that the Daily Camera is creating this “free lunch” perception among voters; the Camera is simply reflecting a tremendous lack of economic understanding by the average American. (Indeed, it is this sort of confused thinking which encouraged President Bush’s creation last week of a “President's Advisory Council on Financial Literacy”, to be chaired by Charles Schwab.)
This “stimulus package” will not stimulate the economy in any meaningful way; after all, who would go hire more workers or build a new factory to accommodate a short-term burst of spending which is specifically designed to be temporary? Instead, the package is a transparent attempt by politicians to buy our votes with our own money. Even worse, the Republicans have let Democrats co-opt the plan so that if you are in the group of Americans who pay over 60% of all federal income taxes, you get nothing. The plan has become pure redistribution. Economically it will do nothing except increase our deficit and politically it just re-emphasizes how far Republicans, especially President Bush, have strayed from fiscal conservatism. Unless you have an uncle named “Sam” who makes a good living, your check is coming from some other real person whom you don’t know but whose money the government has decided you should have instead of him.
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