Editorial: Will stimulus checks help?

Published 10:44 am Thursday, May 29, 2008

The &8220;economic stimulus check&8221; that many Americans have already received may not pan out as politicians had hoped if a new poll of Minnesotans holds true across the country.

The purpose of the payment when it was conceived earlier this year was to stimulate the economy by pumping new money into it &8212; a plan that increases the nation&8217;s skyrocketing debt.

Unfortunately, many people are telling pollsters they plan to use the check to pay off debt &8212; about half of people polled by the Star Tribune.

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That&8217;s because increasing individual credit card debt and the rising cost of both fuel and food has put the squeeze on many consumers. Forty-one percent of people polled by the Star Tribune said they lost ground financially this year. Food inflation is expected to be about 5.5 percent this year, up from 4 percent last year and the largest increase since 1990. Gas has doubled in price in just a few years.

The idea that the government can pay to make everything better is a fallacy. The economy is a natural thing. It goes up and down thanks to market forces, and the stimulus package is a perfect example of how government intervention in these matters can hurt more than it helps &8212; after all, the plan may not &8220;stimulate&8221; the economy at all, but it did add to the national debt.

&8212; Austin Daily Herald, May 27