There is a lot to be said for this article, but in some ways, I would say a lot about this article. Stimulus is amazingly hard to define, and even harder to evaluate. We start with the removal of the alternate Minimum Tax. This was not Stimulus, and really did not even save the Middle Class Taxpayers whom it was supposed to aid; it only allowed States and Localities to raise the Taxes they assess. This again is not really of aid to Anyone, simply assuring a bloated Payroll could stay bloated. It is also larger than the amount suggested by the article, possibly up to $150 billion as eventually applied. The Third Quarter increase of 3.5% at a seasonally adjusted rate is also relatively exaggerated; this being the time of Retail Christmas Orders to Manufacturers, a seasonal event having nothing to do with long-term Production trends. There was no attempt in the Stimulus to get the funds into the hands of Consumers; the only Participants who could generate sufficient Demand to induce Producers to Hire. My final Comment must be that if the Unemployment rate is already 10%, then an additional increase of 10% is realistically only cosmetic; the Production cycle has broken down anyway!
I like this article, though it is on the Outside looking in. I, like The Economist, am tired of Protestations of Politicians that We will fix the fiscal problem Tomorrow–which never comes. What comes is another Recession, which it seems We must always correct, even though allowing natural performance would readjust the economy in the most efficient, swiftest manner. The United States has been in the habit of initiating new programs under adverse conditions, first devised by LBJ in 1965. These are always designed under financial stress to Taxpayers, so actual adequate funding is never devised. Tax policies should be managed without resort to fiscal or economic policy; their sole goal should be adequate underwriting, then We could slug out the infighting over the issue.
Case in Point: Health Care should be universal and Paid For. Tax: the first $25 of every Paycheck goes as Health Care Tax, no matter the size of Income or number of Hours worked. Established law shall decree that all Doctor and Clinics will cost no more than $50, with the Individual patient charged $20 at the door. Emergency Room services will inflict the same Fee, unless there has been an outright Accident. Doctors, Clinics, and later Hospitals, will have opportunity to claim added Costs and file with a Health Commission, utilizing medical policy set in D.C. for distance from Claimants. Doctors will additionally be charged a $10 fee per Proscription, if their average cost of written Proscriptions exceed $200 per Patient per month. Hospitals will be proscribed by law from Itemizing their Costs, and will carry a Day rate of $200 per Day. Operating Rooms will carry a $200 Price tag for a 2-hours service, and only increase additionally. Hospitals will not be able to purchase any medical equipment without Health Commission approval, which will be based upon Need and Population density. Ambulance Services will receive a $100 fee per patient delivery, and can again apply to the local Health Commission for Cost Overruns. Employers of Labor in the Community will be charged by Business tax for the full Cost of medical equipment, while the rest of health care will rest upon Labor. No one will be allowed to escape their medical expenses, Drug companies must justify their Wholesale Costs with the Health Commissions; a difficult process as the self-same Commissions will be providing most of the funding, with Pharmacies regulated to a 4-level set Price for all drugs. We should bring it in under the line as a self-funding mechanism under proper Tax rates. lgl