Stimulating? Or, well, not so much?
As congressional leaders, the Bush administration and presidential candidates tout the stimulus plan (that probable $600 check you'll be getting in the mail to spend and thereby help the U.S. economy) they forgot one thing: nothing anyone buys here is made here. Thus, the plan may be well, less than stimulating.
Alan Tonnelson, U.S. Business and Industry Council, has much more on this in the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette. Some highlights:
- "Consumer goods are the types of purchases likeliest to be made with rebate or other stimulus dollars that are spent (as opposed to saved). Yet in 2006 -- the last year for which detailed data exists -- more than 61 cents out of every dollar Americans spent on such goods was spent on imports. In 1997, that figure was about 38 cents."
- "Failed trade policies deserve much of the blame. Starting with the North American Free Trade Agreement in 1993, too many recent U.S. trade deals have focused too tightly on helping multinational companies move jobs and production offshore, instead of opening foreign markets to U.S. made goods."
- "Americans for now may have no choice but to accept that many of the stimulus plans' benefits will leak overseas, and that near-term economic performance will be modest at very best. But it's not too early to insist that U.S. leaders start recreating the foundations for solid, healthy growth -- and stop making policy as if the global economy and the trade-related mess they created didn't exist."
So when you do your stimulus check spending, think about all the things you can buy that are made in the U.S.! Or at least try to think of one thing you can buy that is still made in the U.S...