according to the Rasmussen Reports, support for the stimulus package has continued to fall as it moves through congress.
some of the loss of support is due to Obama's plan changing from its original form. ie, some dems are unhappy that the bill may be too republican now. i have to wonder though if some of the loss of support isn't also caused by a media campaign being waged by the far right to stymie public support for spending as a useful mode of stimulus. ultimately, this battle of ideas (on the one hand, to spend money on government programs or on the other hand, to cut taxes and let businesses hand out prosperity to those they deam worthy) will not be undermined even by Obama's own push for bipartisanship. the stimulus package will pass. thank the lord.
so, our country/government is giving us a stimulus package. now, what can we do for our country?
first, we can work to ensure that the money is spent wisely, as Obama has said, "hold my administration accountable." this will take vigilence and full participation by all Americans. for starters, we must educate ourselves, become familiar again with the white house website, and engage the office of public liaison.
second, for dean baker, fiscal responsibility concerning stimulus funding is not enough: "we must right now start brainstorming creative and temporary plans to boost the economy further." for example, baker recommends that we also offer tax incentives to businesses to create a shorter work week. in france, implementing a shortened work week created new jobs and had the added benefit of boosting morale!
third, we must not live in fear. the best way to cause something to shrivel (wink, wink) is to cause it to feel and think small. there is a certain usefulness to living our lives carefully, no doubt. but we cannot stop living altogether. indeed, in the same way that human muscle must break down to some extent in order to be rebuilt stronger, we must be willing to take chances on each other and to create our world together in order to strengthen our shared communities and our collective capacity to live well. as reported by the economic policy institute,
"The evidence is that most of the money from the recent tax rebate was saved rather than spent, thus blunting its stimulative benefit.1 By comparison, other options—such as infrastructure spending, aid to states, food stamps, and unemployment insurance (UI) benefits—are much more cost-effective because they target the needs most likely to channel money back into the economy."
right now you can do something to help.
1) tell congress to support swift passage of a robust economic recovery and jobs creation package.
2) volunteer! if spending your tax rebate to help the national stimulating effort seems too risky, then offer some of your time. in a free market the economy churns only when people are working and producing as well as purchasing. with Obama's new funding for AmeriCorps and other national service projects, becoming a full-time volunteer might also be a good answer for those currently seeking employment.
3) support the arts. go see a movie. or a band. or hell, go see a gallery show and buy a piece of art for your apartment/house! it'll brighten your day and help keep the creative energy in our neighborhoods and cities flowing.
4) as Maddow suggests, "scrub, rinse, repeat," and keep trucking!