I am not an economist. Ninety-nine percent the time, I do not understand what economists are talking about when they talk, and the other half of the time everything they say goes over my head. Whatever.
But when I hear something like, "We need to spend 700 billion taxpayer dollars to buy a bunch of worthless debt so the people who got rich selling that debt the first time don't have to give up the private jet and the house in the Hamptons or face any other consequences for their behavior," I'm pretty confident that I both understand it and that it is a bad, bad idea.
I mean, $700 billion is more than $2,000 for every man, woman, and child in the country. If the feds were truly concerned about the state of the American economy and wanted to juice it with $700 billion, they could cut us all a check. (Isn't that the Sarah Palin way?) We could all get a $2,000 health care tax credit. Every college student could get four free years of tuition. We could double the budgets of the 50 largest public school systems for the next decade. We could give every Major League Baseball team a shiny new stadium (don't stadia stimulate local economies?). We could fund the war in Iraq for the next six years. We could stave off foreclosures for millions of homeowners for the next two years. We could fully rebuild New Orleans and Galveston.
Any of the above would be a better use of our money than the purchase of $700 billion of hot potatoes, especially when the people who currently own those potatoes knew--or should have known--not to buy them in the first place.