Exclusive: A Modest Economical Proposal

by BEN SHAPIRO January 30, 2009
This week, House Republicans unanimously rejected President Obama’s monstrosity of a stimulus package, foisting responsibility for this behemoth solely onto the shoulders of its Democrat sponsors. It was a brilliant move. The Democrats will own this “solution” – and its inevitable failure.
 
The battle isn’t over, though. No matter what happens with this bill, Republicans must press an agenda of their own. That means pushing economic bills of Republican origin day after day, knowing those bills will never reach the floor. This is called public relations, and Republicans must learn to own that before they can hope to regain power.
 
To that end, here’s a modest proposal for an economic plan that should please everyone and help the economy. The current stimulus package currently totals $819 billion. That’s approximately $2,730 for each American citizen. So here’s the proposal: give each tax-paying American the option of taking that amount in a tax refund, or of having the government spend that amount on the sorts of social welfare spending Obama proposes. Those who don’t pay that much in taxes each year will automatically have $2,730 spent on their behalf by the government. Everyone’s happy. This doesn’t “favor the rich” – after all, the rich receive the same tax refund as those paying far less. And it doesn’t disfavor the poor – after all, they receive their cash, supposedly, in benefits. 
 
Democrats would never approve this plan, of course – they don’t want taxpayers to have the choice between keeping their money and having it spent on their behalf. They simply want to tap the pockets of the taxpayer for the benefit of bureaucrats. As my good friend, the great radio talk show host Rusty Humphries likes to say, this world is made up of “bean growers” and “bean counters.” Bean counters are those folks who love balance sheets. They think profits just magically happen, that the counting of the beans is far more important than the growing of the beans. Bean growers are the folks who actually create wealth. The fertilizer for the bean growers is tax cuts, Rusty says.
 
Rusty’s right. But the government bean counters aren’t just bean counters – they’re bean allotters. They’re bean distributors. They like the beans in nice cute little piles – and they like to have control of those piles. They don’t want private businesses hiring people and creating revenue streams – those revenue streams and employees are tough to keep track of. They’re tough to count. They’re tough to fit into little columns that add up nicely at the end. 
 
They like government bureaucrats better. Bureaucrats who work on a federal pay scale, who advance a bit every few years. It makes the bean counting that much easier. 
 
Republicans must make it clear to the public that they represent the bean growers – the American people. If the American people want to give their beans to the government, they are free to do so. If they want to plant those beans, watch them grow, create a farm – they’re free to do that, too.
 
Democrats won’t embrace this plan. But Republicans should. And the American people will.
 
FamilySecurityMatters.org Contributing Editor Ben Shapiro is a graduate of UCLA and Harvard Law School. He is also the author of the recently published Project President: Bad Hair and Botox on the Road to the White House, as well as national bestsellers Porn Generation: How Social Liberalism Is Corrupting Our Future and Brainwashed: How Universities Indoctrinate America’s Youth. Feedback: editorialdirector@familysecuritymatters.org.

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