It was, or should have been, frightening news that the United States is now $10.7 trillion in debt, sporting a $1.2 trillion deficit. As Mark Steyn noted, your pocket calculator doesn't have enough spaces to input one trillion dollars. The Democrats' solution is to make our deficit $2 trillion with a "stimulus" package. The Congressional Budget Office (run by Democrats) reports that -- all talk of "shovel ready" projects notwithstanding -- only about 25 percent of the new spending in the package would actually be spent by 2010. And it defies common sense to believe that transferring $100 billion from the federal government to the states to help with Medicare reimbursements will stimulate economic activity. Nor will $200 million to rehabilitate the National Mall in Washington, or $500 million to install new bomb detectors at airports, or $400 million to NASA to conduct climate change research (which several other agencies are already studying), and on and on.
We are, not to put too fine a point on it, about to send another trillion dollars of our money into a rat hole. Permanent tax cuts, for individuals and businesses, have been proven to stimulate the economy. They worked under Kennedy and Reagan. But to point this out now is like shouting into a whirlwind.
As Gordon Crovitz and other wise men have pointed out, we got into this mess because government created a housing bubble. Until the bad assets held by banks are cleared -- and the TARP has clearly failed to do this -- all of the money shoveling will just prolong the agony. Capitalism prescribes tough medicine for mismanagement. But insolvency, bankruptcy, and recession are all necessary correctives that lay the groundwork for healthy recoveries. The Democrats are trying to avoid the short-term pain. The result will be long-term pain.