Food for Thought

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By Erick Erickson

A friend points out, accurately, that both  George W. Bush and Barack Obama tried to throw money at economic problems during their administrations. In particular, they made cash payments to American citizens. It did not really have the stimulative effect they had hoped.

I am very sympathetic to that argument and honestly, I do not think any stimulus will do any good so long as Americans are too afraid to come out of their stockpiles of toilet paper. Concurrent to that, I do think this situation is different from those situations and there are a lot of Americans suddenly unemployed who just last week were in stable jobs. They need some help.

I don’t think we need to go with the Italian model of government take over, but I do wonder if we need to assurances at the state level, dependent on the states, that people are not going to get tossed from their houses for a failure to pay their mortgages or rent. I also wonder if it would be better to have a sort of Biblical jubilee and just say no rent or mortgage or car payments will be due in the next three months, but they pay off dates will be adjusted by three months. I realize the Jubilee was full debt forgiveness, but can we not just have full debt deferral and we all reset in three months?

The government can prop up the banks, which they are going to do anyway, but otherwise we just enter into a period of interest-free deferrals on all loans and housing payments.

What would do a person more good? Getting $1000.00 from the government or knowing their $600 mortgage and $400 car payment don’t have to be met so they can use that money for something else. This would also have the effect of dealing with cost of living matters. $1000 in Atlanta will get you less than $1000 in Baton Rouge, LA. But if we are deferring rent and mortgages, etc. we would be balancing out costs of living.

That is totally spitballing ideas and I am not an economics expert at all. But what I do know is that the financial and lending institutions are going to get bailed out and right now a lot of Americans don’t need bailouts. They just need help getting through the next few months. That would help more than $1000 and would free up already budgeted expenses for things like toilet paper.

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