MY TURN By John Whiting

| 22 Feb 2012 | 08:02

    A Plan to save $2.1 trillion and get the economy running again An Economic Stimulus Plan was recently adopted that will cost the American taxpayer $1.2 trillion. Numerically it looks like this: $1,200,000,000,000,000,000. A trillion dollars is an inconceivable amount of money representing a debt that will take years to repay. There has to be a better alternative. The question is “What is the plan and how much would it cost?” First, it doesn’t make sense to give $1.2 trillion to those who created the problem in the first place. Clearly, the auto industry is broken and in need of major repair. So too Wall Street and the banks who thought it wise to give people with no money a mortgage that they could not pay back to purchase a house they could not afford. Bailout money for the auto industry and Wall Street to date has been misspent on expensive conferences, corporate jets and bonuses for executives who should have been punished for their failures, not rewarded. These executives have demonstrated their inability to mange their businesses and their inclination to place their own self interests above an economic recovery for the country. So then who do you give economic stimulus money to? Why not give the economic stimulus money to the American people? Do the math. If each man, woman and child in the United States (305,841,796 as of Feb. 18, 2009), were given $1 million the cost to the American taxpayer would be approximately $306 billion. While on the surface this seems like a radical alternative, when compared to the present plan, it would achieve all of the goals outlined in the stimulus package while eliminating $1.2 trillion in debt. Such a plan would produce an immediate surge in consumer spending, while avoiding the need for expensive oversight agencies required by the existing bailout plan. It would also allow the free market to force the auto industry and Wall Street to correct their problems if they are going to compete successfully for consumer dollars. Plan guidelines could require that 50 percent of the money be put into a savings account to help ensure future financial security which would produce an immediate stimulus for banking caused by the need for savings accounts. Grants to children could be held in trust until age 18 for college tuition and a career. The homeless could find a home the sick, medical help; the hungry, food; elderly, proper care; single parents, provision for their children, and those facing a foreclosure, mortgage payments. Consumer spending would increase product demand stimulating growth leading to jobs and less unemployment. Welfare spending, unemployment compensation, social security payments and the like could be suspended leading to additional savings; and stimulus money paid to citizens could be taxed as income producing significant returns on the government’s investment. So which makes more sense? To spend $1.2 trillion on a plan targeting the bailout of the businesses that caused the problem that may not work, or giving the money to U.S. citizens? Dr. John T. Whiting is a resident of Vernon.