Avoid Recession, Buy More Stuff!
Everyone thinks the economy sucks, so all the politicians are busy crafting plans to make us think the economy doesn't suck. Naturally, Bush has one idea and Congressional Democrats have another, but their plans all have one thing in common: let's get people to buy more crap! Oh, what good little capitalists we are!
Bush's plan revolves around giving out rebate checks to lots of people who don't have tons of money (which is something he did before and which was very popular) and doing another bonus depreciation, which is fancy tax talk for "giving companies a tax break when they buy stuff." Both of those things would encourage people to buy stuff, because the FSM knows that Americans don't want to save money or pay down debts! Then when they buy stuff, companies will make more stuff and everyone will make money and be in more debt but the economy will keep chugging along until the Chinese finish buying us out.
The Congressional Democrats' plan includes some tax rebates but also extending unemployment benefits, home heating subsidies (totally needed in the midst of this bitter cold winter we're having) and block grants to states to let them deal somehow with the mortgage and foreclosure crisis. Once again, the idea is that with more money, people will buy more crap and so on and so forth. They really, really don't want Bush to try to con them into making his tax cuts permanent, since they want to campaign against doing it and then make many of them permanent anyway in 2009.
Either way, like usual, they'll release competing plans, try to look ballsy by refusing to negotiate, piss away the time until the elections are closer and the economy crappier and then do something too late to stave off the recession anyway. Democracy's almost as good a thing as capitalism.
Lawmakers, Bush Face Test Over Economy [Washington Post]