The stimulus crap sandwich may taste bad, but it's morally nourishing

Beneath that excess, however, the stimulus does have a hidden virtue. A good portion of the funding is channeled to the poor through programs such as food stamps, unemployment insurance, the child tax credit and the earned-income tax credit. This has a humanitarian justification — unskilled workers and minorities are hurt first and hardest by unemployment. But a focus on the poor has an additional economic justification. Dollars given to the middle class during uncertain economic times are likely to be saved — particularly when the middle class calculates (not unreasonably) that current government largess may require future tax increases. Assistance provided to the poor, in contrast, is used immediately for necessities. The Congressional Budget Office calls spending on food stamps the most directly stimulative of fiscal policies. Helping the poor and stimulating the economy in a timely fashion are complementary goals.

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