Huckabee and Paulson Spar over Stimulus Plan
Republican presidential hopeful Mike Huckabee accused President Bush and the House of Representatives of missing the point with their new emergency anti-recession plan, including $100 billion in payments to individuals and $50 billion in tax breaks to get businesses to invest.
“The problem I have is that what we are really doing is borrowing about $150 billion from the Chinese, which is where this money has got to end up coming from,” Huckabee said on CNN’s “Late Edition” Sunday.
“Then we’re going to give rebates to taxpayers, and that’s great. - I’m glad,” Huckabee continued. “But what will most of them do with it? They’re going to buy things that were imported from China.”
“So I have to ask,” he added, “whose economy is being stimulated the most?”
The former Arkansas governor said a better plan would be to provide an infusion of federal dollars to repair and replace crumbling bridges, airports and other infrastructure.
Huckabee has a reasonable argument, to a point. If the purpose of the stimulus package is to prevent GDP growth from turning negative by boosting consumption, then the import share of the incremental consumption (relative to total consumption) has to be considered. And as I've argued before, he is right in noting that this deficit spending on simple consumption when public infrastructure might be a more sensible addition to the budget.