January 24, 2008
With news media reporting that the administration and Congress have reached agreement on an economic stimulus package, Economic Policy Institute President Lawrence Mishel issued a statement sharply critical of the contents of that deal.
Statement by EPI President Lawrence Mishel
The real test of any anti-recession plan is whether it helps working Americans to keep earning their paychecks and paying their bills.
This deal gets it half right by providing broad-based payments to individual workers and for children, with the administration backing off its ineffective, inequitable approach. It is scandalous, however, to throw about $50 billion at businesses for investments that have already been made. It is common sense and established economics that businesses invest and hire when they have customers—not when they get tax subsidies for equipment to make things they can’t sell.
Missing from the package is any effort to help the long-term unemployed or to help state governments avoid cutting public services and increasing taxes—actions that will only deepen the downturn. Moreover, we could create millions of jobs by rebuilding and repairing public schools, bridges, and highways.
At a time when unemployment is expected to increase to at least 6% by the end of the year, we don’t have a day or a dollar to waste. So far, the negotiations between the Democratic and Republican leaders have been a missed opportunity.