A federal stimulus package is coming. We’re convinced of that. The good news is that Indiana Gov. Mitch Daniels and other state leaders are planning what to do with the funds coming our way. Let’s hope the basic principle of "one-time funds that should not be used for ongoing programs" wins out in the end.
But what form will the stimulus take? The version passed by the U.S. House was heavy on spending and light on actual economic stimulation. Many smart people over the years have studied and reported that the way to generate economic momentum is through putting more money in the hands of the people — indviduals, entrepreneurs and business leaders. Tax cuts, proper incentives and investments in long-term assets are good things.
Senator Jim DeMint (R-South Carolina) seems to have an "American Option" plan that fits that description. Does it have all the answers? Probably not. But it certainly seems to deserve some serious consideration. If bipartisanship is going to come into play in the new administration, blending the best from various stimulus plans would be a good place to start.
As members of a fairly small fraternity — Republican governors — I’m guessing that Indiana’s Mitch Daniels and South Carolina’s Mark Sanford have crossed paths at least a few times. I would also suggest that the two likely see eye-to-eye on a number of topics.
We know what Daniels has accomplished here throughout his first term, and that he has not been afraid to challenge the status quo. Sanford appears to share a passion for reducing government spending, and he too is not afraid to take the unpopular position.
Sanford had an amazing 243 budget vetoes a year ago, nearly all of which were overturned. He vetoed 20 bills this legislative session, with legislators overriding his wishes on 15 of those measures.
Now, while many of his colleagues and state legislators are going to Washington to make their case for part of any new economic stimulus package coming to states, Sanford is on the opposite side of the equation. It’s not that he doesn’t want additional federal investment, but not at the cost of increased funding. To paraphrase, if you’re going to invest, make cuts in the federal budget elsewhere.