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Northwest Voices

Seattle Times letters to the editor

February 5, 2009 at 4:00 PM

National stimulus package

Issue direct-to-taxpayer gift cards

Here’s an idea for the economic-stimulus package: Issue gift cards.

Consumer spending is 70 percent of the U.S. economy. Economists agree that no stimulus will be effective if it does not reignite consumer spending. Last year’s direct-to-taxpayer stimulus didn’t work because, instead of spending it, most people put it into savings or used it to pay off debt (that’s what our family did).

Why not take a corresponding 70 percent of the stimulus package ($578 billion) and issue direct-to-taxpayer gift cards? In rough terms, that would mean a $2,000 gift card for every man, woman and child in the U.S. You could use the cards at a long list of U.S. retailers but, as with all gift cards, you could not deposit the money or use it to pay off debt. You would have 90 days to spend your stimulus.

That would still leave 30 percent of the stimulus for needed infrastructure improvements, which is more than what is budgeted for infrastructure now. And, it would provide an immediate jolt to the economy right where we need it most — in consumer spending.

— Paul Naumann, Tacoma

Cut taxes and we’ll buy shovels

Congressional Republicans have made it a big deal that the only stimulus they support is a tax cut. For most of us, cutting taxes would be just enough to pay for shovels, picks and other implements of manual labor, so we could each go out and build our own road, school, university, hospital, airport or other mode of public transportation.

These are the same Republicans who complain about the deficit they have run up, while fighting wars on credit cards.

Does anyone even take these scoundrels seriously anymore?

— Murdoch Hughes, Marysville

Low interest rate is low-bar solution

Republicans opposing President Obama’s stimulus package have complained that the economic crisis was instigated by the housing crisis, and that we should solve it with low-interest loans, etc.

I heartily disagree. We are facing hard times now because our wages have not kept up with the pace of inflation, and a major number of jobs have gone overseas for cheap labor.

Who is responsible for this? Our big-business Republicans — who told us if it is good for business, it is good for the citizens — are responsible.

Why have our jobs not been protected? Because the people in power have been the ones raking in the dough from our profits.

I work in assembly and am currently attending college online to go into a career that will sustain me in the future. But, it is difficult to work all day and come home to course work for two classes.

I am getting financial aid, which I will have to pay back.I expect paying back the loan will very likely keep my free money locked up, leaving little to invest in my retirement. So, I will probably not retire until I absolutely have to.

I ask the president, do you have an answer for this? Because the government is selling our jobs, should not the government help those who are affected by this loss?

We need to create good jobs for Americans again. Then we will have the money to pay for purchases like a mortgage.

Low interest rates alone will not solve the housing crisis. With homes in our area starting at around $200,000, a $12-an-hour job will not keep the builders busy. Making loans to people who can really afford such houses has led us to where we are now.

Education and family-wage jobs will put us back on the road to recovery.

— Sharon Andrews, Marysville

Comments | More in Federal bailouts, Politics

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