Thursday, January 24, 2008

WaPo: Barack's economic solution gets highest grade

The Washington Post's Ruth Marcus graded the economic stimulus plans of the three Democratic candidates:

Barack Obama: A-minus. I criticized his previous tax plan, but Obama is at the head of the class with an intelligently designed, $120 billion stimulus plan. He would speed a $250 tax credit to most workers, followed by another $250, triggered automatically, if the economy continues on its sour path. Obama would direct a similar rebate to low- and middle-income seniors, who are also apt to spend and could get checks quickly. One demerit: Obama omits any increase in food stamp benefits, which Moody's estimates would have the greatest bang for the buck, $1.73 for every dollar spent.

John Edwards: B-minus. Edwards gets points for handing in his paper early -- in December, he issued a $25 billion stimulus proposal (plus $75 billion more if needed), including important help to states to avoid cutting Medicaid rolls. But like Hillary Clinton (see below), he would spend too much money on programs -- investing in "green collar" jobs, for instance -- with too long a lag time to make them an effective stimulus. Edwards's grade goes down because he also hasn't explained how the $75 billion would be spent.

Hillary Clinton: C-plus. Clinton, too, raised the issue early, then turned in a faulty first draft with a $70 billion stimulus plan that didn't provide much immediate stimulation. It included a $25 billion increase in the program to help low-income Americans with heating costs -- an excessive amount (the current program is under $3 billion) that probably wouldn't kick in until next winter. Even worse was her housing plan, including a five-year freeze on subprime mortgage rates that could produce higher interest rates and reduce liquidity.

Obama Campaign Stops in South Carolina

Kingstree-- Jan 24
Beaufort -- Jan 24
North Charleston -- Jan 24

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