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What’s the best way to stimulate the US economy?

Your guess is as good as anyone’s, including the President’s, head of the Fed’s, or the guy who mumbles to himself outside the Copley subway stops.

Give $15,000 to homebuyers over the next three years? Sure, why not? Encourage irresponsible behavior;

Give every* taxpayer $300- $600 in the form of a rebate? Sure, why not? Let’s get the federal budget deficit as high as possible;

Lower the rate of borrowing by 1.25% in a matter of ten days? Sure, why not? Let’s ignore inflation – who cares if the lower rate encourages consumer spending instead of savings;

Raise the conforming loan rate? Sure, why not? Let’s replace loans to the lower- and middle-income people with ones given to people buying 2-bedroom condos in San Francisco for $750,000;

Or, this new one – extend unemployment benefits for those out of work.

More jobless checks a cure for the economy? – By Jesse J Holland, Associated Press

For a bipartisan majority of senators, providing three months or six months of extra unemployment checks to more than 1 million jobless people is a better way to dig the economy out of a recession than just printing tax rebate checks.

Some economists agree, and undoubtedly, so do the nearly 1.3 million unemployed workers who face losing an average of $282 a week in benefits before June.

It seems logical, right? You help people who are facing a grim future, especially if companies stop hiring due to a looming recession, and jobs become more scarce. And, who are the people most likely to spend money given to them by the government? Those at the lower end of the income scale.

Whether or not it’s the best use of funds, of course, is another question, altogether. At least, to some.

Many conservatives and Republicans view jobless benefits as a drain on the economy rather than a potential boost to it. Sen. Judd Gregg, R-N.H., said extending jobless benefits may keep people from working.

“Most people find a job in the last two weeks of their unemployment,” Gregg said. “That’s human nature. They stay on unemployment almost until the end and then they find a job. If you extend it another year, those folks who could be productive, producing a job, creating economic activity by having a job will stay on unemployment even though there may be a job out there that they could take.”

Ahhh. Spoken like a true “compassionate conservative”.

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