If you haven’t heard, we’re in a recession. Just making sure we got that piece of information out of the way.
This difficult economic time has resulted in the U.S. Government scrambling to take some form of immediate action to alleviate the current financial situation in America. The proposed solution that was signed by President Obama was a $787 billion (with a “B”) economic stimulus package. I don’t have the time nor energy to try to explain the rationale of every line item in this stimulus package but basically, the government is going to spend a sh*tload of money on a bunch of stuff in the hopes that the U.S. economy will improve.
The bill contains things like infrastructure construction projects, tax breaks and credits to incent more people to buy new vehicles, and many other things that are supposedly intended to have an immediate impact on decreasing unemployment and increasing consumer spending.
Then there are the other items in the stimulus package that have drawn the ire of its biggest critics. One of the controversial items in this bill is a proposed $400 million to be spent on anti-smoking and sexually transmitted disease prevention programs. I’m sure these are both great in promoting good health but the only possible result that I can see how this would benefit the U.S. economy is the increased sales of Nicorette and Trojan products.
An item that has become a major talking point of the package’s critics is the nearly $200 million that will go to Filipino WWII veterans. From what I’ve read in news articles, a lump sum of $15,000 will go to each vet that is a U.S. citizen and $9,000 to non-citizens.
The positive is that these deserving veterans are finally going to get something (even though it’s just a fraction of what was promised to them). The big negative that I see is that the issue for Filipino veteran’s benefits has now become a partisan politics talking point to argue the validity of a stimulus package rather than a standalone non-partisan issue. Journalists, pundits and politicians that want to highlight what they feel are the unnecessary aspects of the stimulus package are quick to point out that at least a third of the money allocated to these Filipino veterans will end up going to people in the Philippines, thus not really doing anything to stimulate the U.S. economy. They also argue that appropriating stimulus package money to Filipino veterans does nothing to help create jobs or increase consumer spending.
I am no economic expert but according to Kababayan L.A., I’m some kind of expert in something (not sure what, though). Being the expert that I am, I can assure all of you reading this that giving money to old Filipinos will definitely help the U.S. economy.