Wednesday, February 4, 2009

A less stimulating stimulus

Big surprise -- a new Rasmussen poll indicates that the public is becoming wary of the stimulus bill. The question asked in this poll was:

Do you favor or oppose the economic recovery package proposed by Barack Obama and the Congressional Democrats?

If you read the prior post here at Between the Columns, you'd see that I made the case that the branding and the naming of the bill are completely out of sync, which is one of the primary sources of political rancor, and frankly, confusion. And the naming/branding divide shows up once again in this poll.

The stimulus bill is referred to the economic recovery package in the poll question, whereas the actual bill's name and cause is the American Recovery and Reinvestment Bill. That "reinvestment" bit is the elephant, if you will, in the room.

The Democrats are just itching for a fight if they're going to continue to push a bill that is both recovery and reinvestment, when the rest of the country thinks it's only about recovery.

As I stated in my prior post (in greater detail), this divergence of cause cannot be understated. Yet, I feel I am the lonely voice in the political blogosphere trying to raise this issue. If you can help raise awareness around this, please do. Framing this bill consistently is the first critical step toward getting a bill so important (and so expensive) right.


looks like a lot of pork barrel spending to me!
Why not call it pork barrel reinvestment bill
#2009a? Actually I would like to see the
Government buy 10% of every fortune 500
Company and limit executive pay. It would
Save billions that can really be "invested"!

Act Three of last week's episode of This American Life has an interesting lesson in economics. More specifically they talk about John Maynard Keynes and how the new stimulus plan is based on "Keynes’ theory". It was quite educational and absolutely terrifying.

This WaPo editorial seems to agree with me:

Hope you don't mind a little cut'n'paste to

(Geeze, they got WH press credentials now! Crazy kids!)

Sandy Koufax taken by Madoff? I didn't know Koufax was still alive!

Actually, this Stimulus Package could use a little Electro-Stim prodding a la the likes of Ron Jeremy and company. Bear with me, it's only midnight out here on the islands. The FIRST and quite possibly ONLY industry to make bank from the internet is what? Yes, the PORN industry. Sex sells. Always has, always will. So, here's a curve-ball: Obama can suggest a capital gains or consumption tax of sorts on all aspects of the online porn industry. We'd be out of debt overnight. Would make him look both crafty and aspiring to a higher moral ground by targeting something the family values crowd (supposedly) detests (Haggard, anyone?) and allowing the entire country reap dividends from a recession-proof cash cow. Just a thought since we're looking for ways to trim the pork. This way we gain revenue from adding -ing to the pork. I'm sure BillO the Clown would be for it, that closet writer of romance literature... maybe Al will get wind of this and introduce legislation of this sort once he's in the senate.

Another item on the agenda ought to be ending the insane Drug War, legalize marijuana and tax that cash crop too. Time to pull our heads out of our butts on that one. Plus, the goddamn Mexican drug cartels are wreaking havoc not just south of the border, but in the wilderness areas of California with violence and no regard whatsoever for the environment (and we're so concerned with poor people that just want to come up here to wash dishes so they can support their families back in Mexico. RIDICULOUS!) Where the hell's the National Guard? Why aren't they guarding our National Forests and Parks from these bastards and protecting American economic interests?! Oh yeah, still in Iraq.

RL - Innovative ideas like this are traditionally left for movie plots, not reality TV.

But I do think you're onto something -- and something that could be mainstream, and it's very similar to the cigarette tax. Find a roundly agreed upon social ill, and tax it to death.

Drugs is different than porn, as drugs are not legal, whereas porn is. A Porn tax would make sense, but it cannot be called or referred to as porn in the communications. That's the rub.

What else is like porn, but not porn, that could also be taxed as a "social ill luxury" item?

RL - always appreciate the promotional efforts put forth by you and others! In fact, please do it more! I am a much better writer than a promoter of myself, and that's not saying much!

Dems could score a Homeland Security round by changing the debate over the immigration issue vis-a-vis the drug war. I know full legalization won't come overnight, but just possibly under BHO.

There is a very real threat south of the border which is wreaking chaos up here (among them, the pot prospectors destroying our lands) and the point is, the normal people that want to come here to work are not the problem.

This is all down the line, I realize.

BHO seems to be quite a chess player. The GOP seems to think chess too "effete"; they subscribe to putting square pegs in round holes by force. I think that could shape the next year or two of political discourse. The new power role of moderate GOP senators like Collins, Snowe, and Specter is something the Administration is already playing up to.

From a money making perspective, there is nothing like good ol' T n'A to generate income. These days, it's much more than that. I cannot think of a more lucrative and self perpetuating industry to tax. All the other vice luxuries have been tapped (booze, cigs, guns, etc) or are off limits (drugs).

Maybe online gaming? Wii and Xbox? Special ADD tax? What else is almost ubiquitous and easy to tap a little revenue stream out of?

Seriously, John, I would highly recommend jumping into the threads over at 538. There's some great blogging discourse over there and not a lot of trolls (and the ones that dare are quickly humiliated). Nate Silver has started this Uber Nerd Statistics Movement which is having a tangible effect of media and policy. They don't invite him on Countdown or give his gang WH Press credentials for nothing. The cool thing as that he admits his bias yet (most of the time) is pretty religious about the numbers not being ideologically driven. It's a fresh thing to see.