Thanks for the many positive notes about my article in today's Washington Post, suggesting a short-term stimulus through a $2000 federal Gift Card.
It's a short-term boost, not a fix for all the long-term problems with the economy, nor to replace useful infrastructure spending or appropriate financial regulation.
Tax cuts can help avoid some problems, particularly if we wisely expand exemptions from the misguided Alternative Minimum Tax, but we shouldn't confuse tax breaks with immediate stimulus.
The store on the corner struggles when there is a fall in consumer demand. That's true whether taxes are high or low, whether subprime lenders are spinning their evil ways, or whether or not the financial markets need more regulation.
And so do the store employees. The 600,000 jobs lost last month are most remarkable in that they represent only one sixth of the the total losses since the start of the recession. We need relief now, while all other plans take root.
The $2,000 gift card isn't a full solution and isn't meant to be. It's a tool we can put in the hands of every American, right now, this month.
On Monday, I'll post answers to the most common questions about the idea, plus a response to some objections. Or you can read hundreds of differing opinions on the idea at several blogs including that of MadDogMedia, Reddit, Scott Loftesness, and The Washington Post comment board.