They should pay it in Euros.

This is only in the House so far, so there’s a chance, however slim, for cooler heads to prevail. I’m not counting on it.

Democratic and Republican congressional leaders reached a tentative deal Thursday on tax rebates of $300 to $1,200 per family and business tax cuts to jolt the slumping economy.

Pelosi, D-Calif., agreed to drop increases in food stamp and unemployment benefits during a Wednesday meeting in exchange for gaining rebates of at least $300 for almost everyone earning a paycheck, including low-income earners who make too little to pay income taxes.

Families with children would receive an additional $300 per child, subject to an overall cap of perhaps $1,200, according to a senior House aide who outlined the deal on condition of anonymity in advance of formal adoption of the whole package. Rebates would go to people earning below a certain income cap, likely individuals earning $75,000 or less and couples with incomes of $150,000 or less.

Before addressing the plan, is the economy “slumping”? On what economic data is everyone falling all over themselves to give away public treasure? On what economic data is everyone reporting that the economy is in a recession (allegedly) requiring government intervention? Speculation rarely makes for good public policy.

Now, about that plan… This is naked welfare. If a “taxpayer” hasn’t paid any taxes, he is not a taxpayer. Under this plan, he will be a welfare recipient. If that’s what Congress intends to do, it should be honest about it. Because politicians are involved, they can’t be honest. Instead, they wrap their redistributionist garbage in “for the children”. Children do not stimulate┬╣ the economy.

As for subjecting this welfare to an income cap (there is a $3,000 income floor), is there an expectation that lower income non-taxpayers will spend the rebate free money better than others? Are there restrictions on how the money may be spent? Momentarily ignoring income distinctions, there will be a deadweight loss of some portion that will inevitably be spent on unproductive consumption (e.g. beer and cigarettes). There is no concern for the effect of this nonsense, only whether or not it buys more votes.

To those receiving my tax payments, you’re not welcome. To those distributing my tax payments, you’re economically illiterate scumbags.

More thoughts, both specific and general, here, here, and here.

┬╣ Stealing money from X and giving it back to X can no more stimulate the economy than stealing from X to give to Y. Welfare is an additional problem, but it is not the only problem. President Bush’s preferred “solution” would fail to achieve economic stimulus just as well.