Along with election-year cash, the plan will include some tax breaks for businesses that are intended to stimulate investment. These are probably a good idea. I wonder, though: if more money in the hands of taxpayers and lighter tax burdens on businesses are now urgently needed to rally a slumping economy, why wouldn't it be a good idea to have lower tax burdens all the time?
I know just how they feel. When I urgently need painkillers because my body's in trouble, my doctor prescribes morphine. But then I wonder, why wouldn't it be a good idea to be strung-out on opiates all the time?
Seriously, they've got to be joking with this logic. The point of a stimulus package is to provide a temporary boost to the economy. It's not designed to increase economic growth permanently, and if it's built into the system, the economy would adjust around it (with unpredictable results) and the next time it slumped, which it will, we'd need to lower taxes again (at which point Powerline would wonder why not make it permanent again, until our tax rate was a flat 1% and the government was so weak we could be overrun by a squad of Haitian bellhops). Drug addicts know that you can rather quickly adapt to any level of stimulant -- for it to have any effect, you need to keep increasing the dosage.
On the other hand, even if Powerline's correct, a permanent working stimulus would not be a good thing either. Again, the point of a stimulus package is to provide a temporary boost in economic activity to get folks through tough times. You don't want that supercharger running when thing are good, else the economy get, well, over-stimulated (and we all know what happens then). Controlled growth is the key -- ask the Hoover administration what happens when things go too fast.