Stimulus package doesn’t make good economic sense, reader says

Re: Stimulus?

Conservatives are lost in the wilderness these days.

Or perhaps I am the only one left out here who believes that we the American people have gone stark-raving mad.

When you are in the midst of an economic crisis, which was caused by too many people borrowing too much — easy — money that they ultimately could not afford to pay back, how do you think you will get out of it? Borrow more. It may not make common sense; it may not make economic sense, but it makes political sense.

Our political leaders, from George Bush to Barack Obama to Charlie Dooley have decided that printing trillions more dollars and growing government to cover new debts isn’t so bad if we call it “stimulus.”

That is far smarter than saying something honest like: “I propose a new $1 trillion debt program.”

For many years now, we have overspent and over-borrowed — and we must naturally pay up. Panicked Americans have temporarily clammed up and are holding on to what money they have left. This is the logical response. Why should it be different for a government which has over-borrowed and overspent?

But our new president apparently doesn’t want to just free up credit to get us back to our profligate habits of borrowing what we don’t have so we can buy what we don’t need. He would like to have our government create new programs to build infrastructure, guarantee new loans and offer additional credits, bailouts and entitlements.

I remember when the Kennedy Recreation Complex was built. I used to pick blackberries there. Now I skate there. It’s newer than my house. Why does it need to be replaced?

If funding a new Kennedy rec center would once have been called congressional pork barreling, it will now be the patriotic “shovel-ready” request of Charlie Dooley to get the national economy moving again. The old-fashioned spendthrift policies we used to ridicule as congressional pork and “earmarks” are now justified under that ubiquitous, nice word “stimulus.”

This “stimulus” package is estimated to cost at least $6,700 for every family in America.

I don’t know about your family, but my family could replace the deck on our house for that kind of money. At least we wouldn’t spend it today and pass the debt on to our children and grandchildren. They will have to pay it back one way or the other.

Will we default? Will the debt lead to hyper-inflation or devaluation of the currency? What will we do when the dollar becomes worthless? After all, you can’t just create an endless supply of greenbacks and expect them to retain their value.

Just for the record: I’m not against the recently proposed “stimulus” just because it is our new president’s plan. I was also opposed to the Bush “stimulus” in the spring of 2008 and the big-bank bailout in the early fall as well. Free markets and the courts provide a solution to those who have taken on too much imprudent risk: It’s called bankruptcy.

Perhaps it would be useful to recall Ronald Reagan, who also came into office facing a terrible economy. In his first inaugural address delivered Jan. 20, 1981, one line of Reagan’s in some sense encapsulates his philosophy: “In this present crisis, government is not the solution to our problems; government is the problem.”

Matthew J. Chellis


Editor’s note: Mr. Chellis served six years on the Mehlville Board of Education and currently is president of the Tesson Ferry Township Republican Club.