Economic stimulus plan deserves action

The stock market is like any one of us when it comes to healing after the Sept. 11 attack. It has its good days and bad days, its ups and downs. While it’s still too soon to predict a long term outcome, President Bush’s economic stimulus package proposal will do much to boost the economy until it can stand up on its own again. Politicians should work out differences and put a plan into quick action well before the holiday season is upon us.

Not only did last month’s attack unite divided politicians’ resolve to combat terror, it — for the most part — united them economically, too. Deficit spending, once a divisive issue for Republicans and Democrats, is on the back burner as even Senate Majority Leader Tom Daschle admits he can’t think of an alternative. "We are in an economic and military and security emergency," Daschle said late last week.

Bush’s plan of up to $75 billion offers several favorable features, including a new round of tax rebates for many of those who didn’t get that check in the mail this summer because they only pay social Security payroll taxes, not income taxes. It would also extend the limit on unemployment benefits, accelerate some income tax cuts that wouldn’t have taken effect until 2004 and speed up depreciation that companies use to write off the cost of investment, according to the Associated Press.

The mere announcement of an economic package certainly encouraged investors. Oct. 3 was the best day the market had seen since the attack thanks to buyers who sent stocks soaring. The Dow industrial closed at 9,000 for the first time in weeks.

On Wednesday, following a meeting between Bush and senior congressional leaders regarding the release of classified information, House Democratic Leader Dick Gephardt said the group agreed on the "desire" for quick action on economic stimulus legislation before the holiday season. A desire for quick action is nice, but must be carried out. Breakfast meetings where important politicians agree on the desire to do something mean little if there’s no resolution. A potential roadblock could come in the form of how best to deliver the package. Republicans want Congress to cut taxes. Democrats want a blend of tax relief and government spending. Senate Minority Leader Trent Lott said he thinks the two parties can "work through this."

We certainly hope so. An entire nation, indeed the world, is depending upon it.

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