Best to stimulate economy at the grass roots level

Friday, November 23, 2001

It's not every day that a good idea comes out of Congress - especially an idea that benefits the common man and woman.

But last week Missouri Sen. Kit Bond put his support behind what is probably the best proposal for economic stimulus out of the many debated in the wake of economic figures since before the Sept. 11 terrorist attacks. What Bond endorses and proposed by Sen. Pete Domenici of New Mexico, simply put, is letting most Americans keep more of their paychecks during the month of December by eliminating payroll taxes.

The benefit would apply to everyone earning less than $80,400 a year and cost the government $38 billion in general tax revenues.

Granted, there will be costs. Somewhere $38 billion will have to be found from programs or services to pay for the month-long tax "holiday." But it's a much better plan than doling out money to corporations and industries with the hope that it will trickle down to the worker on the assembly line or sales floor. The most effective way to stimulate the economy is at the grass roots level. Bond's proposal also benefits both the employee and employer because neither would pay Social Security taxes in December.

By contrast, most of the proposals tossed about on Capitol Hill are cobbled mishmashes of early rebate checks for those who would pay income taxes in April 2002, repeal of the corporate alternative minimum tax, enhanced business expensing and depreciation write-offs and some help for the jobless.

It's disheartening that Congress has had several days to at least move on Domenici and Bond's proposal but has failed to take any action at all.

Time is running out for making a difference in the 2001 holiday shopping season. It's time for Congress to forget about the big corporations and money-makers who supply most of their reelection funds and take action for the common person by declaring a month-long tax withholding holiday.