January 15th, 2009
12:57 PM ET

Tax cuts or government spending for stimulus package?

From CNN's Jack Cafferty:

There's no formula for success when it comes to stimulating the economy. As Time Magazine points out, the economists and experts speculating on what will work are simply guessing.

Should the President-elect's stimulus package emphasize tax cuts or government spending?

At the heart of it all is whether the boost should come from tax cuts or government spending. There are pros and cons for both but no one knows if either is the magic bullet.

Tax cuts are a quick solution, and have been effective in the past. But this time they may not be the answer because with consumer confidence as low as it is people are likely to hold on to any extra money they can get their hands instead of running out and spending it.

As for government spending, the projects take a long time to get under way. They leave debt for our children and grandchildren, but the idea is that there is something to show for them at the end of the day. There is a bridge or a building or a highway. There's also the option of, rather than starting new projects, pumping money to state and local governments where it can be spent on projects already under way that are likely going to be cut.

Here’s my question to you: Should President-elect Obama's stimulus package emphasize tax cuts or government spending?

Tune in to the Situation Room to see if Jack reads your answer on air.

And, we love to know where you’re writing from, so please include your city and state with your comment.

Filed under: Economic Stimulus • Taxes
soundoff (190 Responses)
  1. Kevin in Dallas, TX

    The management of the Troubled Assets Relief Program makes the answer painfully obvious. Tax cuts.

    January 15, 2009 at 1:08 pm |
  2. Susan from Idaho

    How can any of us that don't have the proper information make an intelligent decision on spending or cuts?

    January 15, 2009 at 1:09 pm |
  3. Don, Newton NC

    whatever will work. Being unemployed, both options would be welcomed now.

    January 15, 2009 at 1:12 pm |
  4. josh, minneapolis

    i cant afford anymore taxes neither can millions more people afford more taxes. cut the taxes, we cant spend more money we dont have, thats why we are in this mess in the first place.
    Americans have "sham pain taste on a beer budget".... not good.

    January 15, 2009 at 1:13 pm |
  5. Gigi in Alabama

    Personally I think that it should have equal value. We need both to dig us out of the deep hole that George Bush has dug for us. Try as he might, (and he is trying hard) he will not be able to pin this recession on Bill Clinton.

    January 15, 2009 at 1:15 pm |
  6. Dave, Brooklyn, NY

    This is not a time to quibble over priorities. All at the same time there must be tax cuts for the middle class, huge tax increases on the wealthy, tax incentives to businesses to keep manufacturing here and penalties for buying from foreign countries (China and the desert oil producers come to mind), tax incentives to businesses to hire United States citizens and penalties (read: jail time) for those that hire illegals, eliminate spending on stupid pork projects including the biggest pork project of all that primarily benefits Halliburton – the Iraq war – (while recognizing that some projects are good). That would be a good first couple of baby steps to fixing our country which was decimated by the current fool.

    January 15, 2009 at 1:15 pm |
  7. karen-phoenix

    Both but heavier on the spending! Green jobs and FIX the rapid incline of forclosed homes!

    January 15, 2009 at 1:15 pm |
  8. Ray in Nashville

    This probably doesn't help, but I think it has to do both. Tax cuts for the middle class and poor as well as small businesses, plus job creation. The only thing that is going to help this economy is the renewed ability of the lower 95% of the population of this country to spend money. So, decent paying jobs and tax cuts to let us keep more of the money we earn.

    January 15, 2009 at 1:29 pm |
  9. Conor in Chicago

    Neither. We can save all of the money we need by ending our military empire over the world. Think all of the money we spent on Iraq and Afghanistan. Think of all of the money we gave to military contractors Think of the hundreds of bases we have around the world. Think of all of the "military aid" we give places like Israel and Pakistan. Does any of this help you and me? No, it doesn't. It helps our "elected officials" get rich acting as conduits for multinationals seeking resource contracts. So now your high school graduate can hardly read at the same level as a grammar school kid in France. Tax cuts? Government spending? Bologna! End the Empire and we have all of the money we'll ever need.

    January 15, 2009 at 1:30 pm |
  10. Ellen, USA

    Well Jack, which came first, the chicken or the egg?

    January 15, 2009 at 1:31 pm |
  11. Sue -Idaho

    Jack, since were using play money I want government spending, only directed at the masses not the CEO'S and corporate hacks who cannot seem to budget their money. Since we now hold the papers on their loans I would like to question them and tell them all their interest rates are being raised because they can't seem to handle their money!!

    January 15, 2009 at 1:32 pm |
  12. Billy G in Las Vegas

    got to be spending esp on job creating projects. how do tax cuts help when people have no job and are not paying taxes?

    in fact they should raise the taxes on any amount made over 1 million to 50% and cut out the loopholes in the system. why should average working people just getting by subsidise these peoples yachts, private jets and limousines?

    January 15, 2009 at 1:34 pm |
  13. Kirven

    Both. Government spending gets people back to work sooner since they are not looking to turn a profit. and tax cuts give people more to spend and companies more to invest.

    However, the tax cuts must be done the Clinton way. That is targeted. Companies will only get the tax cut for doing something to help their company grow and take care of their employees and not just the executives. The GOP lies when they say tax cuts pays for themselves. If CEOs can misuse the extra money they will.

    January 15, 2009 at 1:35 pm |
  14. Joel New Brighton MN


    January 15, 2009 at 1:35 pm |
  15. Liz in Towson, MD

    I think the real trick to getting our economy back on track is cutting corporate greed. If Obama were to require that no company should get more than, let's say, a 20% profit for the next calendar year or so, retail prices would drop, and people would, at least theoretically, buy more.

    January 15, 2009 at 1:38 pm |
  16. Paulette,Dallas,PA

    In order to revive this economy,I believe it will have to be a combination of both. Eliminate the tax on unemployment compensation for now and give tax breaks for families making under $200,000.00. A jobs program is essential. Not just for infrastructure jobs but also white collar jobs. Something modeled on the CETA Program back in the mid 70's. Put money in people's pockets and allow them to maintain their dignity.

    January 15, 2009 at 1:39 pm |
  17. Larry C. Houston TX

    Jack – We've went the "tax cut" route for 8 years now...
    Do you think we should continue to keep cutting "taxes" on CEO'S
    Big Business / and everyone else, but the average working class
    individual, or family, trying to play by the rules every day ?

    January 15, 2009 at 1:44 pm |
  18. JR in Norfolk VA

    Who is more entitled and able to spend my money more efficiently – me or some government wonk in DC? Lower taxes and less spending is the way out of this crisis.

    January 15, 2009 at 1:44 pm |
  19. Tom, Avon, Maine, The Heart of Democracy

    Tax cuts only for the poor, and government spending to salvage the nation's infrastructure and create useful employment.

    January 15, 2009 at 1:44 pm |
  20. Diane, Barneveld, NY

    He needs to address both. Hopefully he can start with the government postal employees in our area. One post office takes and hour and a half lunch and the other takes a two hour lunch. Of course, at least they work more than Congress does.

    January 15, 2009 at 1:44 pm |
  21. Greg in Cabot Arkansas

    Everyone knows the government can't pay its bills with more tax cuts just as you and I would have a tougher time paying our bills if our incomes were cut, yet, Bush and his fellow republicans pushed relentlessly for MORE tax cuts these past eight years as a cure-all for our economic woes……we all know how that turned out.
    We need government spending as an economic stimulus and people need to be reminded that there is no such thing as a free lunch. We will all need to share the pain by paying the taxes that fund the programs that will get America back on course.

    January 15, 2009 at 1:48 pm |
  22. Alex in Seattle

    Both! Targeted tax cuts to help the middle class instead of the rich this time around. Targeted spending to improve infrastructure and save energy down the road. Projects, like the interstate system in the 50s, that will reap benefits in trade and energy savings for decades. Insulating federal building are green jobs we can't outsource and will save money and energy for years.

    January 15, 2009 at 1:50 pm |
  23. Barack wins, but do we?

    The least we can do for the economy is to lower taxes to stimulate growth on Main street, however, the new Administration will destroy any positive growth with the following;

    Strengthens unions

    Increasing Capital Gains taxes

    Increasing Payroll taxes

    Reducing Free trade with ever increasing tariffs.

    Increased minimum wage each year (less profit, fewer jobs).

    Inflicting pain on all the businesses that use carbon (everyone) with Cap and Trade.

    Higher Regulation to further restrict business from profits.

    We will see a massive loss in profits and a massive increase in job loss, because Barack and his team just don't understand business as they have had to run one.

    January 15, 2009 at 1:51 pm |
  24. Ken in Pinon Hills, California

    Jack, they will do both. It is comparable by me going out and buying a luxury automobile, and booking an overseas vacation on credit, and then asking my boss for a cut in salary to help the business.

    January 15, 2009 at 1:52 pm |
  25. Shel NY

    It really doesn't matter what it does. Like every other Pres. he said what he had to to get into office, and he will do whatever he wants now that he's in. Like ny other day, the american people don't matter.

    January 15, 2009 at 1:52 pm |
  26. Bert Morgan

    Government spending! Is,has been and always will be the issue at hand here that needs to be addressed.
    To many agencies,employees,unnecesary programs and foolish spending by our government officials that is not policed or monitered by anyone other them by themselves.Sounds like one big shopping spree to me at the taxpayers expense!

    January 15, 2009 at 1:53 pm |
  27. Ray Kinserlow


    Ray Kinserlow
    Lubbock, Texas

    January 15, 2009 at 1:55 pm |
  28. Ron San Diego

    Hi Jack:

    A little too much of both, and not enough of neither!!

    Ron San Diego

    January 15, 2009 at 1:55 pm |
  29. Jackie in Dallas

    I'm going to espouse an unpopular view and say no tax cuts. We cannot continue to spend AND reduce the amount of money coming in. Our national debt will already take generations to pay off.

    Like many of us who are suffering for living beyond our means, the government needs to become more responsible. Cut pork spending, encourage the development of new jobs in the private sector, reduce the fat in government agencies, and get us out from under the weight of the war in Iraq to the tune of billions per MONTH.

    January 15, 2009 at 1:55 pm |
  30. Barack wins, but do we?

    As I was taught as an Economics major there has never been a case where a massive stimulus package actually improved the economy long term. Sure, throwing money to pave the Atlantic Ocean will creat short term artifical jobs, however, reality sinks in when we have to pay for the Government spending, and then Main Street is inflicted with a great deal of pain to pay for the failings of Government with higher taxes and regulation.

    Stimulus packages have never worked, only tax cuts have worked. Why because we know how to make a buck productive, Government knows how to waist it big time.

    For example, for every dollar set aside by Gov't for Welfare, only 21 cents of that dollar actually goes to a welfare recipient, the remaining 79 cents goes for the administration of the department. I think it is smarter to give the dollar to main street and have that person employed, don't you Jack?

    January 15, 2009 at 1:57 pm |
  31. Greg, Ontario

    He ran on tax cuts for the middle class and he better come through or there will be Lou Dobbs, Glen Beck, Rush whatshisname etc etc to answer to. They won't care what kind of economy he inherited either.
    He said a vote for him meant change and if it doesn't happen it will be a long time before the Democrats are trusted again.

    January 15, 2009 at 1:59 pm |
  32. Valerie - Raleigh, North Carolina

    All the tax cuts in the world will not motivate spending 'till people have a secure job and feel they will continue to have their jobs. What is needed is an immediate major investments in infrostructure by the government and an immediate package that allows people to stay in their homes. Tax cuts are a secondary shot-in-the-arm but jobs must come first. Let's all hope Obama and his advisors are as smart as we think they are. We are desperate.

    January 15, 2009 at 2:00 pm |
  33. Joe in DE

    Tax cuts for low & middle income are good – they should be paid for by elimination of Bush's tax cuts for the rich.

    An effive stimulus would be a businiess tax credit to high percentage of US citizens in the workforce. This would help stem the loss of industry & jobns to cheap labor martkets, This could be paid by a slight overall increase in Corporaion taxes. 50% Us employees – break even; more than 50% net reduction; less than 50% net increrase.

    January 15, 2009 at 2:01 pm |
  34. M From Florida

    Whichever one helps the people, and I would assume a tax cut would help the American people. You know, the ones who voted these officials in..the ones who are losing their homes at an alarming rate. Otherwise we should have a government that is for itself, by itself and not the people. Oh....we have that right now!

    January 15, 2009 at 2:03 pm |
  35. Charles, Lansing, MI

    I'll give you the same answer I gave you a year ago. The money should be spent on infrastructure. No one listened to me then and no one will listen to me now. So we will end up with more broken roads, more broken bridges, more Chinese junk and more Chinese debt. The ultimate result will be when China forecloses on the United States. No more bail out then.

    January 15, 2009 at 2:03 pm |
  36. Laurie

    I think it's about time middle and low income people in this country get a break . The stimulus should be targeted at these groups and no others . Lower our taxes and give us back our jobs . You want to turn this country around , give it back to the hard working Americans that built this country in the first place .

    January 15, 2009 at 2:05 pm |
  37. HD Taylor - Arizona

    Jack, I'm all in favor of tax cuts but they need to be cuts that really amount to something as opposed to something that only ends up being about $20.00 per week. A thousand dollars a year does not constitute a real stimulus when people are just making from paycheck to paycheck.

    HD from Phoenix, AZ

    January 15, 2009 at 2:05 pm |
  38. Denis Duffy

    When tax cuts are announced, it is a one time thing. The government won't do that.
    Government can announce all kinds of stimulous packages, thereby keeping themselves in the news. This will be the main thrust.
    Americans will lose again.

    Pittsburgh, Pa.

    January 15, 2009 at 2:06 pm |
  39. Connie from Indiana

    Jack, As we all know it is not about government spending , it is about government waste. Every time I hear one of the congressman or senators speak , I think what a waste of tax payers buck.

    January 15, 2009 at 2:07 pm |
  40. Michael "C Lorton, Virginia

    Jack: It should emhasized tax cuts. This way will provide direct tax relief to 95 percent of American workers, and spur investment and job growth for American Businesses.

    January 15, 2009 at 2:08 pm |
  41. Mike S., New Orleans

    There will always be tax increases, tax decreases, and government spending. The question is who the tax cuts go to and what the spending is on.

    Obama's idea to create jobs rebuilding our infrastructure is smart and I hope he can deliver on it. It could really help pull us out of the Bush Depression.

    January 15, 2009 at 2:09 pm |
  42. Katiec Pekin, IL

    Think your questions can be best answered by financial experts although even they can disagree.
    You have very intelligent bloggers but think many will put their faith in P.E. Barack Obama and his advisors, cabinet and staff to decide the best solutions for us and our country,
    We are in good hands.

    January 15, 2009 at 2:09 pm |
  43. Erik

    It should include neither one of them. Tax cuts do not create jobs. Government spending is part of the reason we're hurting now. What we really need is to put the focus on putting Americans back to work. With 2.6 million less people working, that's a huge amount of taxes not being collected through payroll deductions, sales taxes, and so on. We've switched from being the top innovation and manufacturing country to being the biggest consumer economy. If we continue to take in more than we produce, no amount of spending or tax cuts will get us out of the hole we've dug ourselves in.

    January 15, 2009 at 2:11 pm |
  44. Erik

    It should include neither one of them. Tax cuts do not create jobs. Government spending is part of the reason we’re hurting now. What we really need is to put the focus on putting Americans back to work. With 2.6 million less people working, that’s a huge amount of taxes not being collected through payroll deductions, sales taxes, and so on. We’ve switched from being the top innovation and manufacturing country to being the biggest consumer economy. If we continue to take in more than we produce, no amount of spending or tax cuts will get us out of the hole we’ve dug ourselves in.

    McDonough, GA

    January 15, 2009 at 2:12 pm |
  45. Don (Ottawa)

    Both! Government spending and how the government plans to reduce the deficit need to be addressed as part and parcel of a tax cut. One cannot be done without the other.

    January 15, 2009 at 2:13 pm |
  46. Judy, Exeter, Calif,

    Both should be considered as long as the tax cuts are primarily for the middle-class, and the spending goes toward those things which need to be addressed in this country such as, infrastructure, green technology, and research for energy independence. Waste should be eliminated from social programs and, the school systems must be reevaluated. The fed should cut off money to states that have high school budgets and poor results, and reinstated only when positive action is taken to make change.

    January 15, 2009 at 2:13 pm |
  47. don in naples, florida

    they need to roll back tax cuts, and cut spending. No more stimulus checks, no more bail outs. Enough is Enough!!!!!

    January 15, 2009 at 2:14 pm |
  48. Connie from Indiana

    Jack, Let's face it in place of the seven hundred billion dollar bailout ,if they would have given every family in America one hundred thousand dollars with the stipulation to pay on your home and for those who did not owe that much on their homes take the rest and buy cars. Banks and the big three would have a huge cash flow, jobs would have been saved,created and we would live happy ever after. Oh no, the little guy is paying to line the pockets of the fat cats.

    January 15, 2009 at 2:15 pm |
  49. Keith - Cleveland

    Neither, Jack. I favor flogging and the stockade for the executives in the financial world.. After seeing this, the new financial executives will straighten up and the citizens will feel better and start spending.

    Maybe it wouldn't hurt to throw in a couple congressmen to help straighten up the house & senate.

    January 15, 2009 at 2:15 pm |
  50. Woody Davis

    Both.... but lets get real I doubt that any of it will matter

    January 15, 2009 at 2:16 pm |
  51. Judie from St. Augustine, Fl

    Government spending to create new jobs seems to be the most practical thing to do for our future. The people need jobs. With new jobs there will be more spending which will create more in sales tax revenue and more demand for employees to service the renewed spenders. What the heck good is a tax cut if you are not employed and not paying taxes? Creating new jobs will benefit more people than tax cuts will.

    St. Augustine, Fl

    January 15, 2009 at 2:18 pm |
  52. NANCY M.- Colorado

    Use it to help people. The banks have proved they cannot be trusted with money. Obviously, they do not care about the rest of the population.

    January 15, 2009 at 2:21 pm |
  53. Simpliticus

    Well, the mantra used by the Republicans these past twenty-eight years has been wrong. Economists know that lowering taxes doesn't in itself promote better economies, it promotes wealthier upper classes, a concept known by taking any economics course. Ever since Reagan, money has been borrowed and that money is now to be paid back and that is why we are in so much turmoil. Obama should adhere to his statements that taxes will not be going up for people who make less than $250,000 annually! Beyond this taxing those in the upper ranges, perhaps suitable tax cuts for the lower classes may be in order!

    January 15, 2009 at 2:23 pm |
  54. Diana Ewing NJ

    With so many loosing their jobs and self employed with businesses going belly up, how is a tax cut going to help... It only helps when you have an income.

    January 15, 2009 at 2:23 pm |
  55. Stacy from Leesburg, VA

    Jack, it is hard to sell tax cuts to the working mother in the unemployment line. Tax cuts are a great way to continue growth in an upward trend, but tax cuts now will not work. Businesses are laying off workers by the number and if one has no job, one has no money. In order to resuscitate the failing economy, the working men and women need to have some jingle in their pockets to purchase goods and services. Once they get back on their feet, then recovery begins.

    January 15, 2009 at 2:25 pm |
  56. Bizz, Quarryville, Pennsylvania

    We need both that are directed towards the middle class. If we ever will be able to get this economy healthy again, that is where we need to direct the most help. For too long this class of people have been taking it on the chin. They have been conned into buying homes they could not afford. 45 million of them have no Health Care, and are only one a medical emergency away from financial disaster. Their credit card companies are allowed to raise their rates compared to loan sharking. Even if they make their payments on time, but are late with a payment some where else they can see their credit card payments jump from 10% to 35% overnight. Things like this needs to be corrected in order for people to start spending again.

    January 15, 2009 at 2:27 pm |
  57. Paul S. Columbia, SC

    If Obama was so concerned about government spending, how is squandering an obscene 50 million dollars on an inauguration justifiable, after all he has said? Just like the rest of Washington, his 'word' is worthless.

    January 15, 2009 at 2:28 pm |
  58. Meg Ulmes

    I think that the government should emphasize both tax cuts and government spending. All taxpayers could use s hefty tax cut–especially the middle class. Many Americans are now dependent upon public or private aid agencies, do the government will need to help fund those efforts that keep people on the edge afloat. It's a tough situation for everyone.

    Troy, Ohio

    January 15, 2009 at 2:28 pm |
  59. Annie Florida

    government spending to create desperately needed jobs. tax cuts do not help people who are no longer working, cannot find work, or have given up trying.

    January 15, 2009 at 2:29 pm |
  60. Brian from Fort Mill, SC


    January 15, 2009 at 2:33 pm |
  61. Hope M. Madisonville, KY

    We need both but only if they help stimulate the economy. People
    need to get back to work so money and credit start flowing again.
    Too many businesses are failing and too many houses are being
    foreclosed so people are nervous and have stopped spending
    on anything other than essentials. This is making the economy
    slow even more. Obama and Congress need to be bold right now or
    we'll end up in free fall.

    January 15, 2009 at 2:33 pm |
  62. Margaret in California

    Giving me a tax break will bring a smile to my face but it won't solve our economic crisis. Perhaps the government needs to spend to lift us up out of this hole but I especially object to giving corporations money without specific guidelines and restrictions. Nothing pains the average American more than watching our tax dollars wasted, which brings me to the question: how much money does our government really need to operate (to provide the basic services to all Americans)? Every year I know how much it is going to cost me to maintain my lifestyle and I plan accordingly. Although I recognize it would take enormous time and effort, It is time our government does the same.

    January 15, 2009 at 2:36 pm |
  63. Terry from North Carolina

    It goes without saying tax cuts should be the focus, however for who will be the big question. It has been our history that the well to do in this country are the chosen ones who seem to be able to make huge amounts of money on these so called tax cuts. " the rich get richer and the poor lose their homes and go to shelters"

    January 15, 2009 at 2:36 pm |
  64. Jack - Lancaster, OH

    Mr. Cafferty:

    I did not think government spending needed more emphasizing, it needs a choking dose of downsizing, and NOW !


    January 15, 2009 at 2:36 pm |
  65. George

    So many people get left out of the loop when tax cuts are given. When the government spends money on projects that employ everyday people, everyone benefits, so the answer let the government offer up a lot of different wirk programs that employ instead of lobbiest begging for handout to the pet projects.

    January 15, 2009 at 2:37 pm |
  66. MARCUS123 Flanders

    Neither cut goverment spending ;goverment spending produces no product or anything of value ,only dependency ;

    January 15, 2009 at 2:37 pm |
  67. Dead Snake

    Both jack, it's time for the middle class person like me to also have a tax cut after so many years of give away by the Bush Admin to the rich folks like you jack.
    There is too much greed in this country. when will the exploitation of the poor will stop in this country? I guess that is the saoul of capitalism.

    January 15, 2009 at 2:38 pm |
  68. odessa

    i hope that he can do a revelant plan that involves poor and middle class families give them a break for once..bush tax cuts needs to go because eight years was waisted for nothing but causing faulty loans for working people, making the richer get richer with numerous breaks etc..i want a plan that will help the poor and middle class families to survive as well helping out small businesses rise too...i really want to see a real plan to keep working people their homes rather letting it to foreclosure or being homeless..there are too many children in this country who have working parents doing the best that they can and somehow they fall into the cracks..i hope that president obama will fix this problem because every american family needs to have a place to stay as well a reasonable salary to survive..

    January 15, 2009 at 2:42 pm |
  69. Pam

    Tax cuts. The government doesn't have a clue how to spend money responsibly.

    Pam, New York

    January 15, 2009 at 2:44 pm |
  70. C. Martin (Alabama)

    It should emphasize tax cuts. First, people who make over $250,000 a year need to be TAXED. They don't need help. WE do. And not just "families' - I get sick of hearing about families. There are plenty of singles like myself who can barely get by, yet we don't get the tax breaks married people do. I want a break for a change. I spent almost $20,000 out of pocket on medical expenses year before last. I got only a bit less than $2,000 back in my refund. And that was having a pro do my taxes. It was medically necessary surgery - nothing was elective. My drug bills and doctor bills were through the roof. Yet I had married friends who had NO deductible medical expenses, yet they got four times as much as I did back due to the fact that they have a child. They can afford to buy a home, while I have to rent. So sure - help families, but help ME, too. I'm tired of paying for other people to have babies.

    January 15, 2009 at 2:44 pm |
  71. Sherri (From Mills, Wy.)

    He should do both. The Bush administration did so much so fast, every day at least 2 or 3 different things would come out. He was doing so much that no one could lite on just one thing. That's why he was able to do so many bad things. It was going to fast to keep up with. That's what Barrack needs to do. Do so much so fast that they can't hold you accountable for any of it, because the next thing has already come up.

    January 15, 2009 at 2:44 pm |
  72. J Buck

    That depends upon what he really means ! Tax cuts to Obama are welfare checks (already tried and did not work).
    There should be no more money "that we do not have" spent. We need to go back to the American Way – we all pull ourselves up by our own bootstraps and put the crooks in jail. Endure the tough times as the correction goes through the tough times (for the most part caused by dishonest Banks and Crooked Politicians).
    If there was to be a 700 Billion Dollar Tarp then a new Financial System w/honest people should of been setup and let those who engaged in fraud go under. Come on, we have become a sick society folks.
    J Buck
    Minneapolis , Mn

    January 15, 2009 at 2:45 pm |
  73. Annie, Atlanta

    Government spending AND a rollback on those tax cuts for the Bush cronies who’ve had almost 8 years of unregulated benefit. After all we need some sort of income for Obama's projects.

    January 15, 2009 at 2:46 pm |
  74. william fitzwater

    Should have 3 components.

    1 Its needs to cut government services where it is sensible.
    2 increase taxes where it is sensible.
    3 encourage the need for government to improve its efficiency which can in the long run cut costs and increase services.

    I feel the federal as well as state governments do not move as fast to improve efficiency as private industry does. The government holds on to old inadequate technologies & methods & processes.
    In terms of procurement the government perverts the ways they bid open contracts and they use as social programs for special interests to reward individuals and business. This is often called pork but even legimate programs are perverted in this way. This is my biggest fear as far as the rescue program will be perverted as a program the helps only areas which DO need improvements but the help benefits only congressional special interests and districts.
    This should be where the Obama administration should have more oversight in choosing its projects but it will never happen because congress and executive branches fight over their power and the idea of power sharing terrifies congress because it represents a loss of power. However if there is paralysis with all democratic control in executive and legislative branches of government this will cost the democrats in the midterm elections in 2010 as a democrats there needs to be a sprit of not us verse them but all party’s are on the same team and need to work together. Work together to pass the rescue get oversight and get this program passed to help me a unemployed American.
    However I feel it is more than likely congress can in effect hold the country hostage on the bailout or on anything g else.

    January 15, 2009 at 2:47 pm |
  75. Randy from Salt Lake City

    You mean more tax cuts for the rich? Yeah, that really worked -Not.

    And more government spending? You mean, more government deficit spending, bacause this country is broke. We'll have to borrow money from rich countries to give to 'Murikans so they can what – spend it on debt or products made in China?

    Now, maybe if we close some 721 miliary bases throughout the world, we might save a few bucks -and maybe less people will hate 'Murika and its destructive actions. Maybe. We've done so much damage to the world, I wouldn't blame anyone for hating the US.

    January 15, 2009 at 2:48 pm |
  76. Mike - Hot Springs, Arkansas

    Seeing as how Economics was never my strong suit I would be hard pressed to say which was better. I also feel that over 99% of the American people also have no clue and that includes our elected representatives who represent a clueless constituency. These decisions are best left to those who can put the figures to the metal and make an intelligent decision.

    January 15, 2009 at 2:51 pm |
  77. Demyrepub

    Rescue Package for Our Economy?

    Zero all of the loan balances from credit cards, student loans, homes (all types), autos, businesses, etc. Banks have already received their bailout. Automakers have already received their bailout. It is time for the people of this great nation to receive their bailout.

    Remove the burden which is stifling our economy by freeing up money that normally is directed toward debt. Instead of sandwiching folks between increased national deficit on the top side to be paid off by taxpayers, and individual consumer debt on the bottom side where folks were set up to fail, try a more positive and simplistic approach. Instead of devaluing our money, let us zero all of the loan balances and allow our citizens to start over. Don’t show this as an income to the consumers for tax purposes. If they can’t pay their debts, how can they be expected to pay taxes on “fake” income? “ZEROING THE BALANCES” will allow consumers to spend more money NOW thereby boosting our economy, saving jobs, and shoring up small businesses.

    1) No stimulus package needed because folks will have debt free paychecks.
    2) No increased national debt.
    3) Homeowners will be staying in their homes.
    4) Real estate values will stabilize.
    5) Crime will decrease.
    6) Consumers keeping more of their paycheck will allow them to spend more money thereby boost our economy.

    January 15, 2009 at 2:51 pm |
  78. Doug - Dallas, TX

    I don't trust the government to spend my money. They just spent $350 billion and don't know where it when or how it's being used. The level of incompetence is staggering. Long winded answer to say tax cuts.

    January 15, 2009 at 2:52 pm |
  79. Bob D, Morristown, NJ

    According to leading economists, proper government investment in non-military items, like education, flows through the economy 4-5 times creating more jobs than just those who perform the work paid directly by the programs.

    Tax cuts, on the other hand, is used to pay down debt, go into savings, and for a lot of other things that don't help create jobs. The cuts are there to get Republican support. You know those folks whose mantra is "Tax cuts are the solution!! What's the problem?"

    January 15, 2009 at 2:53 pm |
  80. Cori from Colorado

    Jack, we will probably see both, but tax cuts is what I favor most.

    January 15, 2009 at 2:54 pm |
  81. Ann from Hampton, New Jersey

    Tax cuts, as I know a stimulus package will only have the members of Congress adding their own "extras" they want included. Do we really want additional money to find out the life span of gophers in the desert? We need the money to add to our life span.

    January 15, 2009 at 2:57 pm |
  82. David in San Diego


    January 15, 2009 at 2:57 pm |
  83. Terry in Hanover County

    The middle class and poor are taxed out. Robin Hood would know what to do. He's a Saint compared with those crooks in Congress who give to the rich while stealing food from the mouths of the poor and middle class. So, do both. Give the poor and middle-class a tax-free year effective Jan. 1, 2009. Tax rich corporations and individuals on the same basis as the poor and middle class; take away those special deductions that allow them to get away with paying little or no income taxes. The backbone of America, the middle class, can't do any more. Give us a chance, too. We don't need crumbs while the rich get cake. We don't need more false promises. We don't need more pie-in-the-sky hope. We need relief and it's spelled "N-O-W."

    January 15, 2009 at 2:58 pm |
  84. Joe in MO

    Government spending for the stimulus package. Do things that bring long-range benefit–help break our dependence on foreign oil, rebuild our crumbling infrastructure, shore up education. Those kinds of things. Use the money to give hurting people work and make us stronger.

    January 15, 2009 at 2:58 pm |
  85. dan krause

    It seems obvious to most of us that we need government spending now more than tax cuts. People who get tax rebates are not going to use the money to fix roads, improve school buildings, or refit automobile plants. And despite the persistent rantings of the right wing, there are things that the federal government does well. More importantly, there are projects such as space exploration and water conservation that only the government can do.
    If the Republican Party can ever get over its kneee-jerk aversion to government and even to tax hikes, they might eventually turn into a responsible and constructtive party again. But don't hold your breath. And in the meantime, the rest of us need to get behind the Obama administration as it begins the job of rebuilding what was allowed to decay during the last eight years.
    I am still amazed at how much of our country fell apart in only eight years. I guess we can all feel grateful that it wasn't longer.

    land-o-lakes, wisconsin

    January 15, 2009 at 2:59 pm |
  86. My V. Nguyen

    Dear Jack:

    From the fiscal policy point of view, we need government spending and Keynesian economics right now because the US Economy has ground to a halt. People are losing jobs and big corporations which employ large number of people are not hiring and are announcing more layoffs. Careful government spending will increase hiring which will put money into the pockets of consumers.

    Tax cuts are effective ONLY if we are NOT in a RECESSION or a DEPRESSION which we are right now. What is the use of tax cuts when large number of people don't have a job or are not paying a lot of taxes anyway. Furthermore, we have seen in the past that the Bush tax cuts benefit mostly the investment class which is spending the capital in developing countries of China and India.

    January 15, 2009 at 3:00 pm |
  87. Ken Michigan

    Tax cuts, but seeing that the Democrats don't understand that phrase, instead of "Change" it, we're up for "Charge" it. Sock it to the tax payers. Same old, same old. Hey Mr. O, where's the change?

    January 15, 2009 at 3:01 pm |
  88. Gigi

    Dump the IRS and go to a flat tax. That is a tax cut for the poor and middle class. Now that we have educated and given our jobs to foreign countries lets begin by educating our students and bringing jobs back to the US. Then give stimulus packages to companies or programs the hire US citizens. Lets take care of our country for a change rather than letting our loans be called up and they run our country for us.

    January 15, 2009 at 3:01 pm |
  89. Mickie

    I don't think even the financial experts have the answer to a sure fix. I do believe strongly that the government needs to step in as far as credit card interest rates which are usury and they have absolutely no regulation as to when they charge what. As the national interest rate goes down the credit card rates go sky high even for me and I have excellent credit. There is no regulation and/or enforcement on the banks, businesses, rich, powerful, etc., etc., etc. only on us little people. We lose our homes while Madoff gets to sit in the lap of luxury with not even a slap on the hand. This country is disgraceful and the worse I've seen in my 64 years.

    January 15, 2009 at 3:01 pm |
  90. Roger (Dallas)

    Stimulus package. The tax cuts can wait a little while but the stimulus package will put people to work right away, especially infrastructure jobs, and get the economy going again. I figure with the tax cut I will cut my taxes $500/year. I'd rather be able to travel on safe highways and bridges!

    January 15, 2009 at 3:02 pm |
  91. Teri in St. Augustine FL

    Pres-Elect Obama seems to appreciate history. If so, maybe he should look at what happened to our economy when the Bush administration cut taxes – especially for the wealthy. They got their breaks, but where was the job creation? Where was that whole 'trickle down' effect? It's more like they 'tinkled down' on us instead. But when it comes to government spending – not if it goes for Congress' pay raise!

    January 15, 2009 at 3:02 pm |
  92. Terry "the hillbilly Hooser"

    Mr. Cafferty,

    Why don't we wait and see what he does DO,
    before we start questioning what he should DO.
    I don't think we'll change his mind.
    DO you?

    January 15, 2009 at 3:04 pm |
  93. Ed Reed

    Government spending. All economic textbooks agree it has a greater multiplier effect than tax cuts which may be saved, used to pay off debt, or to buy products made in China, none of which does anything to stimulate the U. S. economy.

    Ed Reed
    Port Aransas, TX

    January 15, 2009 at 3:05 pm |
  94. Asher Bob White

    Both, jack! I believe in progressive taxes and support Obama's campaign position to cut taxes for the least able (under $200k) and increase taxes for individuals and corporations whose net earnings are more than $200k per year. Also, i believe in very substantial government expenditures for a new green power and transportation system, public schools & higher education tuition, universal health care, and public infrastructure as an economic stimulas.

    Hays, KS

    January 15, 2009 at 3:06 pm |
  95. Larry from Georgetown, Texas

    To me the package should be a tax cut for those making less than $200,000 per year like the real Joe the plumber's and Jane six packs, then it should have a tax increase for the wealthy like you Jack and Wolfe.

    January 15, 2009 at 3:06 pm |
  96. Linda in Florida

    As much as we hate to think about it, I think we have to spend more to get us out this hole that Dubya has dug for us. There is an old saying that "things have to get worse before they get better." Try as he might, I don't think knucklehead; i.e., Dubya, has convinced anyone that this recession is Bill Clinton's fault.

    January 15, 2009 at 3:07 pm |
  97. David,San Bernardino,CA.

    FDR's spending plan worked during the great depression,but I don't think it can work now. We used to have politicians with integrity but now all we seem to have is incompetent crooks. All that will happen is that the money will disappear into someone's pocket.

    January 15, 2009 at 3:07 pm |
  98. John in Santa Barbara, CA

    GOVERNMENT SPENDING, that way the government can control the money. Not like giving it to the banks and then wondering what they did with the cash. Cutting taxes is no good because if you're not working you don't pay taxes so paying half of nothing is still nothing. Those who still have jobs are making less and the tax cuts will have less impact there. The government has to take this bull by the horns and ride it the whole way.

    January 15, 2009 at 3:08 pm |
  99. John in Rohnert Park

    Well you can't realistically do one without the other as they are not mutually exclusive. He promised middle class tax cuts and he had better deliver on that promise and not just a token cut but a significant cut. He's also got to seriously curtail runaway spending. The republicans never saw a submarine, carrier or weapons system that they didn't like, nor have they seen an opportunity for war they couldn't resist. Enough is enough. Let's focus on people and our environment instead of a monstrously large war machine.

    January 15, 2009 at 3:09 pm |
  100. Buster in Poughkeepsie, NY

    I say C. All of the above. Kick starting the economy is going to require tax cuts to increase retail spending, savings, investment and importing/exporting from consumers and businesses as well as large expenditures from the government necessary to create the private jobs for the so-called "shovel ready" projects. If we're going to defeat this recession, we're going to have to tackle it from all sides.

    January 15, 2009 at 3:10 pm |
  101. Lois Canada

    It seems to me that tax cuts don't make sense, seeing that the people voted for Obama based on his promises, that being said, the people also voted for Government spending Galore! Gotta keep the promises!

    January 15, 2009 at 3:10 pm |
  102. Doris in New Mexico

    I don't know much about economics,but probably tax cuts for the shorter term and massive spending on green,infrastructure,etc. for longer term.

    January 15, 2009 at 3:11 pm |
  103. Tom Ft Lauderdale


    Return to the tax structure during the Clinton administration. Stop sending money to No Bid contracts in Iraq. Build new infrastructure that will have a small return. No tennis courts bowling alleys , Art museums ,Parks or projects with no return. Do build windmills nuclear plants and drill drill drill. When the income to the arab nations is ended they can return to their tents and camels and senseless killing of eachother....

    January 15, 2009 at 3:11 pm |
  104. Jasmine in Germany

    Both. And everyone can start with saving on fuel; heat, hot water, all motor vehicles including air travel, etc. Energy efficiency is key. If the whole country would wake up, it would make a heck of a big difference. I'm pleased we will have a president who will not fully heat all rooms in the White House when they are not in use and short notice heating for unexpected use is supported. If all homes and government buildings had this attitude, our national deficit would disappear quickly and the economy could be healthy. So, make sure you inflate your tires properly, that doesn't cost you anything and sure saves a lot!

    January 15, 2009 at 3:12 pm |
  105. sid

    Jack, give everyone over 21 years old the money, thats the quickest way to fix the economy. Have a nice day!

    January 15, 2009 at 3:13 pm |
  106. Don in Fort Gratiot MI

    I doubt cutting taxes will generate as many new jobs as we need. In the bigger picture, I think spending in job creation, infrastructure, energy initiative will add more punch... just don't spend it like you won the lottery please..

    January 15, 2009 at 3:13 pm |
  107. Ray, Dunedin,FL

    Both Jack!
    It's kinda like a heart patient getting a bypass, you need to fix the underlying problem before you start with rehabilitation. Both are required for a full recovery. Unless all you have is a case of heartburn, then I think it's time for a new doctor!

    January 15, 2009 at 3:13 pm |
  108. Tim, NJ

    Dear Jack,

    I would like the government enact a New Deal Part II. That is, certainly a tax cut for the middle class (sorry Wall Streeters and Oil Tycoons), as well as the development of federal programs that will make us stronger in the long run (think alternative power and infastructure) that will employ millions.

    Too much emphasis is being put on banks and tax cuts. Obama and Congress need to look closely at what FDR did and try to replicate it.

    January 15, 2009 at 3:14 pm |
  109. chris

    tax cuts of course help the taxpayers it's time t hept he taxpayer get staten govt't to cut their budgets in their overe spending not in education or medical cuts but other area of govt waste in state budgets so help out the taxpayers with money that would help the most i don't feel sorry for govt officals getting 100,000 plus and benefiyts at taxpayes expense and cojngress too they get more

    January 15, 2009 at 3:15 pm |
  110. Mike, Syracuse NY

    Jack, this entire stimulus package is a megabucks Hail Mary pass. No one really knows if it will work or not. Given that a large percentage of any spending will probably be wasted, I trust me to spend my tax dollars better than anyone in Washington. Bring on the tax cuts. I promise I'll spend it wisely. No really, I will.

    January 15, 2009 at 3:15 pm |
  111. Vinnie Vino


    This is not the time to reduce the main source of the government's revenue by cutting taxes. While the country is embattled in two on going wars. The only time this was done in the past it didn't quite create the jobs we were told the cuts would. Do to this President-elect Obama's stimulus package should focus more on government spending that will create millions jobs...

    C.I., New York

    January 15, 2009 at 3:15 pm |
  112. Lionel Washington


    When are people going to wake up and smell the corruption! The Federal Reserve is a fraud! They are robbing us blind. The IRS has no constitutional means for the Federal income tax and we just take it, no questions asked every year. Find me a congressman that will impeach the Federal Reserve and you will find a true American Patriot!

    Best Regards,
    Denver, CO

    January 15, 2009 at 3:15 pm |
  113. Hugh ~ Tracy, California

    Tax cuts for the middle-class and an economic stimulus package were both promises made by Barack Obama on the campaign trail. The nation is watching and waiting to see how he'll be able to accomplish both. It will be a long uphill battle, but removing wasteful programs, and ending the war in Iraq will save hundreds of billions of dollars. Creating new jobs is at the core of stimulating the economy, but tax relief is essential to help struggling familes keep their homes and small businesses.

    January 15, 2009 at 3:15 pm |
  114. honest john in vermont

    Tax cuts will not help solve the problem. Spending may help and is the only way to go–but it will cost 5-6 trillion dollars to jump-start a very sick economy. Not 700 billion.

    January 15, 2009 at 3:18 pm |
  115. Tim

    Targeted spending and targeted tax cuts. Spending with an emphasis on projects that will create both short and long-term employment opportunities (which might include training programs). Tax cuts targeted to the low to low-middle class and small businesses.
    Tim in Texas

    January 15, 2009 at 3:18 pm |
  116. garrick

    hi jack
    goverment spending on jobs that will make tax payers,no pet projects,jobs jobs jobs

    January 15, 2009 at 3:18 pm |
  117. Richard Green

    Moody's Economics and the Economic Policy Institute have done studies on how to get the most for each gov't dollar spent. Tax cuts are among the worst methods, returning about $.30 for every dollar....we're $.70 in the hole with that method. The returns turn positive when gov't spends money on infrastructure, extending unemployment benefits, and food stamps. The returns on each gov't dollar spent in those ways is from $1.50 to $1.75. Gov't spending in those ways was shown to more widely increase economic activity.

    Rich Green
    San Clemente, Cal.

    January 15, 2009 at 3:20 pm |
  118. Jim/NC

    Tax cuts is the proven method of creating jobs and boosting the economy. Now, businesses pay state taxes, federal taxes, payroll taxes, property taxes, sales and use taxes, excise taxes, vehicle taxes, taxes on taxes. It is not rocket science to understand that small business needs to be the central issue in our economy. They feed the vast majority of our society. The old adage: give a man a fish and he will eat for one day; teach a man how to fish and he will eat for a lifetime.

    January 15, 2009 at 3:20 pm |
  119. C. Farrell, Houston, Tx

    Obama's stimulous package should not emphasize tax cuts because if it results in tax cuts, then we will be better equipped in understanding government spending.

    January 15, 2009 at 3:21 pm |
  120. John

    Jack: Those who have not had tax cuts like the top 5% of income earners have enjoyed should get a tax cut. I believe couples should get $2500.00 and singles should get $1500.00. I believe those who make more than $250,000.00 a year should lose their tax cuts at the end of 2009. The tax cut for middle and lower incomes need larger tax cuts to stimluate the economy. I believe the tax cuts for the rich only go to their tax deferred annunities. Tax cuts for the average person would go to buy food, gas for the car, and clothing for children.


    January 15, 2009 at 3:22 pm |
  121. Linda, Charleston SC

    Jack you should know this isn't a pick which one scenario, Go ask Paris Hilton and I'm sure she will tell you that a little of both needs to happen.

    January 15, 2009 at 3:24 pm |
  122. Denise

    Government spending.

    January 15, 2009 at 3:24 pm |
  123. Janice in Tennessee

    It will require both tax cuts for the middle class and government spending to get us out of this mess. I agree with Obama that it needs to go from the bottom up. If the government offers home owners low interest rate mortgages, that will keep them in their homes making payments which in turn will generate money to the banks. Then, the banks can pay back all the billions of bail out money to the government. That, along with stopping the 2 wars, will give us money to rebuild our crumbling infrastructure, provide jobs, which will provide more taxes. By adding taxes to companies that refuse to bring jobs back to this country, the budget could be balanced once again before Dubya and Cheney bankrupt the nation.

    January 15, 2009 at 3:24 pm |
  124. Al in IA

    It wasn't that long ago (early 80's) when you couldn't buy a house without a 15 or 20% downpayment unless you got a VA loan or went thru the FHA lending system. Thanks to the Reagan era law eliminating the tax deduction on consumer interest and the birth of the home equity loan, lending institutions have been giving away all the 110% and 120% mortgages they could and reselling the risk to someone else. And now we're surprised this has ended in a collapse of the mortgage industry? DUH

    January 15, 2009 at 3:28 pm |

    I think the infrastructure is the best way to go. It will make many jobs and that is what our Country needs. We really need our manufactering back. It probably will never happen, but that will make the U.S.A. strong again. The wealthy are enjoying sitting back and getting money from Mexico etc. rather than our people making a living. What a shame.

    January 15, 2009 at 3:29 pm |
  126. Pat,Lexington, Ky.

    Government spending the money is probably best. Because, as you said, Jack, if I get a tax cut I'm not going out and spend it. I'd use it to pay doctor bills, etc. What about the "shovel-ready" projects I've heard Obama and others mention? The gov't. needs to spend money on infrastructure which will create jobs – and they should start spending some of it on the alternative energy ides that would also create jobs.

    January 15, 2009 at 3:29 pm |
  127. Will from San Jose

    If any new government spending is going to be done with the same oversight, thought and planning as TARP then they might as well dump the money in a pile in front of the White House and just burn it. At least the fire will provide some warmth for those that have recently lost their homes.

    January 15, 2009 at 3:30 pm |
  128. Pat - Butte, Montana

    Jack, tax cuts would put money in the hands of the people right away and provide for immediate consumer spending. Government spending results in more waste than good and does nothing but increase the Pork line.

    January 15, 2009 at 3:32 pm |
  129. JD in NH

    We need both. Tax cuts for the middle class and a stimulus package that does more than pay bonuses to Wall Street. The California Nurses Association has just published a study that shows an increase of 2.6 million jobs, $317 billion in business revenue and $100 billion in wages if the stimulus was directed toward universal, single payer, health care (aka Medicare for all). It's worth reading.

    January 15, 2009 at 3:33 pm |
  130. Janet in Phoenix

    Some of both ,I am sure.However, why is there almost no discussion of taking a good long look at all the overseas spending? Why do we only look at domestic pork ? Egad! We are in huge trouble here.

    January 15, 2009 at 3:33 pm |
  131. Steve

    More Government spending Jack.....to the unemployed that were only making $35k and under. Retraining requires up-front money, usually from a loan, which requires a half-decent credit score, which requires the bills to be paid....

    from Maine

    January 15, 2009 at 3:33 pm |
  132. Lee in TN

    May be both. BUT, what they need to do is cut out the Pork, stop the spending on the wars that we are in which seem to be draining us dry.
    Just think about how much daily, this war has cost the American people, not only in the monetary sector which will eventually be built up, but also the lives of the American military that can never be replaced!!!

    January 15, 2009 at 3:36 pm |
  133. Nancy, Tennessee

    If we follow the recipe for success to come out of the Great Depression, we need government spending which creates jobs that produce results for all Americans. Our interstate highways are in need of repair. Give a man dignity by giving him a job and money to put back into the economy while at the same time provide much needed updates to our roads. It a win win solution and its not a handout. The southeastern part of the United States still benefits from the Tennessee Valley Authority that President Roosevelt created to give people jobs while building power plants to provide electricity for the masses. President-Elect Obama needs only to study this one great program to know the answer to the question at hand.

    January 15, 2009 at 3:37 pm |
  134. JW in Atlanta

    Government is NEVER EVER EVER EVER going to stop their wasteful spending. And cutting taxes at the federal level only encourages local governments to tax it away at the local level. We live in times where government, whether federal or local, think that people exist for government's benefit rather than the other way around. It's getting to resemble the middle ages where the serfs pay the lords just to exist.

    January 15, 2009 at 3:39 pm |
  135. Mary, Atlanta, GA

    Why can't people see that things started turning sour just a little over two years ago when the dems took over the house and senate. So yeah, sure, I think we should just be the little sheep most people have become and just sit back and let Nancy and her flock determine what would be the best for us. Can't wait to just sit back and start getting my stimulus from the government since I am apparently not able to take care of myself.

    January 15, 2009 at 3:40 pm |
  136. steve, santa monica, ca

    Create jobs, wages and salaries, hourly jobs, any kind of jobs which will put money into the hands of individuals who will spend it. The average propensity to spend is over 95% of what a person makes. Some people spend it all. When the spending starts, it snowballs into the hands of others who in turn spend it again and again. The velocity of money. How many times can the original money turn over in a year? People buy food, clothes, cars, rent or houses, entertainment, manufactured goods, etc. With increased demand, stores need to order higher volumes of goods, producers need to produce more, laidoff workers need to be recalled, jobs return to the economy. The wheel starts to turn again.

    January 15, 2009 at 3:40 pm |
  137. Al, Lawrence KS

    If people have a few more dollars from a tax cut, they can buy that shiny new thing made in China. I don't see how that accomplishes anything. We must invest in American companies, providing American jobs, and producing American products. Only this can provide long term growth.

    January 15, 2009 at 3:40 pm |
  138. Sherri

    Government spending should be TOP priority with tax cuts for the middle & low income Americans a close second. If people have no jobs & are losing their jobs everyday then how can they spend. With the 2.6 jobs loss in 2008, just imagine the monies loss that they would have spent at department stores, furniture stores, car dealerships, etc. It is imperative that the Stimulus package priority is government spending FIRST. I am amazed at watching the Republicans complain about raising the taxes on those INDIVIUALS in the upper upper income bracket when the average American John & Jane Doe USA has been ignored for 8 years AND now are suffering greatly because of the do nothing Bush Administration. If President Obama's Stimulus package is $1 TRILLION dollars then so be it, this country is in a economic 9/11 and government spending to create JOBS, extend Unemployment benefits for the million of jobless Americans that WANT to work but can't until businesses start hiring again and they can't start hiring again if there's no one willing to spent their hard earned dollars!

    January 15, 2009 at 3:41 pm |
  139. Dan from Bloomington Indiana

    we need to get real in this country. I honestly heard a news piece this week on raising the gas tax to help pay for infrastructure upkeep since people are driving less. if people are driving less doesn't it stand to reason that we would need less road work? when asked if that would be a burden on the tax payer the answer was that the new Obama tax cuts would allow people to pay more in gas tax. What is the point of a tax cut then? We are taxed to death in this country. We need real tax relief. We are constantly being bombarded with "tax relief" plans that put money in one pocket and take it right back out of another. once we get some real tax relief then the government should invest in some real infrastructure improvements that would create some real sustainable jobs. there is no simple one answer solution Jack. We have to do it all.

    January 15, 2009 at 3:45 pm |
  140. Eric Godfrey

    Tax cuts for all people lower, middle, and upper class. People that work hard and do well should not be penalized for their success. I think the government has already put us in the situation that we are in now. The bailout has done nothing, the stimulus package has done nothing, what makes you think any more spending will help?

    January 15, 2009 at 3:48 pm |
  141. Jimmy in WNC

    Neither, put the money in the hands of the people, they will pay off debt, buy products and this will have a quicker impact on the economy than anything the politicians have done or will do.

    January 15, 2009 at 3:49 pm |
  142. Jay in Texas

    How about scrapping all of these "plans", bailouts, and stimulus packages which have failed recently in favor of helping Americans who NEED help like the millions of government-certified disabled and elderly who must live at one-third the level of poverty. Forget about cutting taxes on those who can afford to pay taxes and give some relief to those on below-poverty fixed incomes who must struggle every day to choose between medicines or groceries.
    Brownwood, Texas

    January 15, 2009 at 3:51 pm |
  143. Dan from Alliance, OH

    FDR used spending to create jobs during the depression. This worked but back then people would work even at a job that today a college graduate would consider beneath them. Because of this behavior with the younger generation I would recommend tax cuts. But these need to be targetted at where they do the most good. As an example, if you cut taxes for corporations then job creation has to be attached to this cut. Once this is done then cuts for the middle class could stimulate the growth of our economy as the spending increases.


    January 15, 2009 at 3:51 pm |
  144. Randy from Mystic

    I think he should concentrate on government spending. Paying taxes doesn't thrill me anymore than anyone else. But A TRILLION dollar debt! Someone's got to start paying that off. Yes, roll back the taxes breaks for the rich, but cutting the taxes of those making less than $250,000 dollars a year, a good chunk of the populace, makes no sense. The debt will only grow if you reduce those taxes. The government, without any new programs, needs more money, not less. And we, my fellow Americans, are the way they raise money.

    January 15, 2009 at 3:52 pm |
  145. Jane (Minnesota)

    The government needs to spend on projects that create more jobs first and foremost. People who have jobs will spend money. Then follow it up by examining the Tax code to eliminate the loopholes that allow the very wealthiest taxpayers to avoid paying a reasonable amount of tax (their fair share).

    January 15, 2009 at 3:53 pm |
  146. Gip, FL

    Jack Jack,

    I dont see any kind of BASE for any kind of govt help or tax cuts to employ people. Infrastructure Jobs, are held by 50% Illegal Labor, Construction Jobs Held by 50% illegal labor, Retail and many places wont give you full time and work for min wages and no benefits.
    One thing to have a job, but another to have the right job:: paying a living wage!

    January 15, 2009 at 3:54 pm |
  147. David

    At a time when the government is looking for way to cut down on wasteful spending the president elect only needs to look at his own spending habits. Yes being elected as president is a big deal but at this time, with the country is in the economic trouble that it is, should we really be spending the amount of money that they are taking about on an anogeration Ceremony. when that money could be spent to help out the country in a better way. Also the amount of money that they are allowing for the redecoration of the white house. Should taxpayer money be spent on foolishness, when we are at a time when the nation could use that money to help out in other aspects? In my line of work we call it fraud, waste, and abuse of government money.

    January 15, 2009 at 3:56 pm |
  148. David

    Leave the economy alone and it will seek its own solution.

    January 15, 2009 at 3:56 pm |
  149. Gip, FL


    Tax cuts are not going to go anywhere but to their own savings accounts, economy to uncertain to invest, unless it is in Green Infrastructure.

    January 15, 2009 at 3:57 pm |
  150. Jeff in Glen Carbon IL

    Bothe are needed, and soon. If we are going to skip one, skip the tax cut.

    January 15, 2009 at 3:58 pm |
  151. Julie in LA

    Repeal the Bush tax cuts for the Rich.

    With the Bush-Paulsen $350 BILLION Giveaway Scam the rich have already bled the country dry.

    No more.

    January 15, 2009 at 3:59 pm |
  152. Gip, FL



    Obama said he would bring change, I have not seen anything yet that indicates this. Same ole tax cuts and same ole Clinton People!! Clinton did sign into law in 2000 allowing wall street to do what they did. and now we have his people in Treasury! and other places.

    Yep No Change!!

    January 15, 2009 at 4:01 pm |
  153. David

    I believe that he's going need to do both. Like it says in this article it's a guest so if you do both we may get lucky. Whatever they do I hope it works for the nation sake.

    January 15, 2009 at 4:01 pm |
  154. Deb I , Nauvoo, IL

    Tax cuts substantially help only those wealthy and honest enough to pay taxes. How about actually enforcing the tax code for the richest corporations and individuals: those who are now able to escape paying their fair share of national expenses. We haven't tried a true economic stimulus plan. We have only thrown money at those who don't need and didn't use it to help anybody but themselves. If there is one way Obama has disgusted me, it is his absolute insistence on throwing hundreds of billions of dollars at those who already have hundreds of billions of dollars. It doesn't make sense.

    January 15, 2009 at 4:02 pm |
  155. Gip, FL


    America has been run on Materialism, we buoght what are egos wanted us to. Want versus Need!!

    If you buy today what you WANT, you may not be able to buy tomorrow what you NEED!!

    January 15, 2009 at 4:03 pm |
  156. Ralph Nelson

    1. Tax cut rebate to middle class and poor.
    2. Tax rebates of up to 15% for purchasing fuel efficient cars, trucks, appliances, green home improvements.
    3. 30-to-60 cents gas tax (phased in) for roads, streets, bridges, and tax rebate on purchase of fuel-efficient cars up to 6 years old.
    4. Substantial infrastructure package of several hundred billion with large (bigger than 50 billion) for green energy and new power grid..
    5. No aid to states except for housing for poor, food stamps, job training, homeless shelters, unemployment, basic health.
    6. Total package at least $1 billion.
    7. Coordinated program with allies, China, Russia, Middle East. A worldwide economic recovery effort.
    Ralph, Yakima, Wa.

    January 15, 2009 at 4:04 pm |
  157. Gip, FL


    I expect tax cuts for the rich, Government spending that provides more jobs for illegal's, fraud into the sytem that provides contractors to overcharge etc for work , same ole same ole!!

    YES WE CAN !!

    January 15, 2009 at 4:06 pm |
  158. Patrick in Hampstead, Maryland

    Americans are in debt out their ears and will only use tax cuts to pay down the debt. Thats not a bad thing but Government needs to create jobs toward the future. Jobs in infrastructure and rebuilding the auto industry makes alot of sense. Also jobs that help scure our border make sense. If we dont soon improve our creative skills in engineering and science we will become a third world power.

    January 15, 2009 at 4:12 pm |
  159. Thom Richer

    Tax cuts are a real misnomer. Whenever a credit seeking president announces or Congress "passes" a "tax cut," several more taxes are added or increased either locally or statewide or "fees" and costs of goods,,services or utilities go up. Thus making any "tax cut" just a phoney bit of smoke and mirrors. Tax cuts, therefore, never, ever, reach the working taxpayer. The only thing that will turn this or any economy around is mass employment with wages and benefits that working families can live on. This idiotic premis that "downsizing" of workers by corporations and employers, is again, phoney and not a bit of good for economic stability or turn around. No jobs, low pay, high taxes.....no economy.

    Negaunee, MI

    January 15, 2009 at 4:12 pm |
  160. Ron from SF

    I just got back from Big Sur and most of the bridges and the road I drove over were built in 1932. We still have them and this spending stimulated the economy and saved the country. Compare that to Bush's tax cuts that only added to the deficit. Tinkle down does not work and never did.

    January 15, 2009 at 4:15 pm |
  161. Phil P. in NJ

    Jack, I'm for the economic stimulus package verses the tax cut because the trickle down theory does'nt work. We need cash infusion into the U.S. economy since 70% of our econonmy is based on consumer spending. When the consumer spends life is great. When the consumer stops spending, like right now, today, life is ugly. Retailers, car dealerships, you name it, all have excess inventory that's costing them money. Then you add the banks who have horded up the first part of the 750 billion dollars without extending credit to the small business owner and consumer along with high unemployment and you have a reciept for disaster. Kinda like what we have today in America.

    January 15, 2009 at 4:15 pm |
  162. just me!

    Over the past eight years our government has represented greed , irresponsible fiscal management, lack of accountability, and inability to represent the peole who elected them. Fiscal management can start with no pay raises for our eleted nonrepresentatives–any pay rasies should be approved by those who elected them! Eliminate the tax breaks for the rich who can afford to contribute more. stop job outsourcing to keep jobs in the USA. The bonuses and excessive salaries of executives on wall street/banks/auto industry should be returned to help pay off debt and then their income be reduced to no more than the president of the USA makes. No executive shoul receive benefits not afforded to the employees. Cut the number of executives–stop the practice that only the working person loses their jobs! enforce laws re; legal immigration–ship the illegals back home to wherever they came from. Stop allowing illegal aliens to rape our education and health care systems at the expense of the taxpayer. Governemtn needs to actually listen to and represent the people who elected them not their political party.

    January 15, 2009 at 4:16 pm |
  163. Tripp Mechanicsburg, PA

    I love you're "either or" questions, Jack. The answer is yes. We should emphasize both. Provide funding for current repairs and improvements underway at the state level. Provide relief to the states so they don't lay off more employees or cut services like their police force or firefighters. Provide low cost loans for small businesses and tax incentives for employers who hire American workers and penalize the hell out of those businesses that ship our jobs and manufacturing base to other countries that abuse their workforce and wreak havoc upon the planet with pollution. We can do these things and we must do these things.

    January 15, 2009 at 4:17 pm |
  164. Jackie in Dallas

    Paul in South Carolina,

    The $50 million being spent on PE Obama's Inauguration is less that the price of either of President Bush's inaugurations, and more of it is being covered by small donors, such as me. Yes, there will costs involved with security, traffic control, transportation, etc., but most of that is being covered by D.C., and they will be getting it back in the form of money spent by those attending.

    A lot of entertainment is being furnished free: there is a whole list of performers from Beyonce to James Taylor and Herbie Hancock who are donating their time and performances for nothing.

    Lastly, do you realize that we are spending about $20 Billion a month in Iraq? $50 million is not even one tenth of one percent of that!

    January 15, 2009 at 4:18 pm |
  165. Mike - Pueblo

    When will the insanity stop? The government should ONLY cut taxes and NOT increase spending.

    In order for the government to spend, it must take in taxes to balance the budget. If taxes are cut, and the government increases spending, it must finance the money it spends, which takes capital out of circulation for the rest of the borrowers, driving up interest rates longer term. The only way out of that pickle is for the government to print lots of money, causing rampant inflation.

    The government has clearly demonstrated to us that it has little fiduciary responsibility when handling our money. The financial and auto industries have few restrictions or demands imposed on the loans, and it is THE TAXPAYERS' MONEY being thrown down the rabbit hole. The only logical course of action at this point is to let taxpayers keep more of their money to stimulate the economy. If taxpayers use the money to pay down their debt, it should help the financial institutions stabilize and put the taxpayers in a much stronger position for spending down the road.

    The wrong decision on this issue will torpedo our fragile economic situation. I pray our leaders have the wisdom and courage to make the tough calls.

    Mike – Pueblo, CO

    January 15, 2009 at 4:19 pm |
  166. John, Fort Collins, CO

    I suggest the government issue cash stimulus directly to people in the form of a debit cards that have a six month expiration date. That would ensure the money gets into the economy quickly. The cards would need a stipulation that they can only be used for making purchases and could not be redeemed for cash or by financial institutions to go into savings accounts.

    January 15, 2009 at 4:21 pm |
  167. Ryan, Galesburg, IL

    Tax-cuts are ineffective for the bolster our economy needs. It's time to spend here at home, after 8 years of turning our fortunes over to Haliburton and the like.

    January 15, 2009 at 4:24 pm |
  168. L.M.,Arizona

    This mess started with Bush's tax cuts for the rich, oil companies,and giving banks a free hand so tax cuts is definitely not something we need. Clinton started to cut the deficit I think that's where we need to go or get ready for Mr. Ears,


    January 15, 2009 at 4:24 pm |
  169. WaltH

    The best way to fix this economy is from the bottom up.
    Let’s say there are 120 million families in the US. You give each of these Families $10,000.00 and not by a tax refund.
    This money will end up in the economy almost immediately. Local Governments will get their fair share thru existing taxes.
    Federal Government can tax it as income. The less the family makes the less they will pay in taxes consiquently the richer the family the more taxes they will pay.
    Jobs will become available to handle the influx of sales. Suppliers will need to rehire. Manufactures will need to rehire.

    The Administration will have to be in control of which portions of the economy this money is directed.

    The way to do that is to issue electronic coupons in a Gift Card format. The Administration makes a list that families can choose from.
    This list would include the areas of the economy that need the most help.
    People could choose from that list and designate how much of the $10k they wanted on that particular Gift Card.
    Some families may elect to get only one Gift Card let say for a new or used Car.
    Others may choose as many as they want as long as the value of all the Gift Cards does not exceed $10k.

    Think about how the economist will be able to watch and use this information

    January 15, 2009 at 4:25 pm |
  170. Gloria East Bay CA

    No more BAILOUTs, please. Overdue tax cuts for the MIDDLE Class.
    Sock it to the WEALTHY! Too long, politicians have been sucking up to Corporations and high income individuals. Stop kissing their donkeys and do right by we the less fortunate.

    January 15, 2009 at 4:25 pm |
  171. Daniel, Indiana

    One thing is for sure is that gibving the banks money to spread around won't work. They proved that, with the exception of giving out Christmas bonuses. We have seen in the past that trickle down doesn't work. Whether the poor and middle class spend the money or not isn't important. That is where the most need is for a stimulous is at and that is where it should be given. Not as a withholding benefit though, since many low and middle class are unemployed and are not receiving pay checks.

    January 15, 2009 at 4:30 pm |
  172. Jenna Wade

    Should President-elect Obama’s stimulus package emphasize tax cuts or government spending?

    Well how well have past stimulus packages worked? Not very well.

    Maybe what we need is tax forgivness for a year.

    That would help to stimulate the economy.

    Roseville CA

    January 15, 2009 at 4:32 pm |
  173. David in Granville, Ohio

    Tax cuts are not the answer. I am in a huge hole because my company is owed so much money it is not paying me. All I will do with tax cuts is to pay off debt or reduce the mortgage backlog. I doubt if I am alone in this sort of situation.

    Government, like it or not, is "The spender of Last Resort". Only government investment in projects and jobs can help now.

    January 15, 2009 at 4:36 pm |
  174. Frank in West Des Moines, IA

    It's how we spend the money that's the problem and the fact that we don't save anymore! For if "money doesn't grow on trees"......How can we go around spending it like it does? It is time to start sacrificing things we want for things we can't live without. Our future depends on it!

    January 15, 2009 at 4:39 pm |
  175. K. P., Atlanta, GA

    I think President-elect Obama should equally focus on both Government spending and tax cuts. I find myself dreading to file taxes.... I get a headache guessing how much Uncle Sam will say I owe.... I would love to see all the money that comes out of my pay check every other week for income tax, go to something that will directly benefit my family and I.

    January 15, 2009 at 4:41 pm |
  176. Lynn, Idaho

    It's a stupid argument that really doesn't matter, because it comes from the same place, our pockets. The transfer of the wealth from the middle class to the very wealthy was Bush's entire economic plan and it is almost complete - just one last multi-billion dollar bailout away - and it seems Obama is more than willing to oblige. Somewhere along the line, we morphed from being the richest and best country on earth to the dumbest and most naieve. It's very sad.

    January 15, 2009 at 4:41 pm |
  177. Tripp Mechanicsburg, PA

    I wouldn't give the the money to the Treasury Department so they can loan it out. The Fed has been acting like "Uncle Billy" in Karpa's "It's a Wonderful Life," and forgot where they put the money. I'd invest the cash in "Savings and Loans" and Credit Unions so they can provide cut-rate loans to individuals so they can get by through these hard times and to small businesses so they can give jobs to the people who got laid off. Whatever we do, we shouldn't let Mr. Potter's Big Financial Institutions on Wall Street have their way with it.

    January 15, 2009 at 4:43 pm |
  178. Pugas-AZ

    I think that it should be an intelligent mix of tax cuts and spending. Of course intelligent dosen't always play well conerning the federal government. Small business tax cuts would probably reap the most benifits and could ease the employment hemoraging. Fast tracking public works projects would be prudent but would need a lot of oversight to avoid wasteful spending.

    January 15, 2009 at 4:45 pm |
  179. Don (Ottawa)

    Both are what got us into this mess in the first place. It's just a continuation of the Bush philosophy that spending is good for the economy. What ever happened to a penny saved is a penny earned philosophy?

    January 15, 2009 at 4:46 pm |
  180. Mary from Houston, tx

    Tax bush cronies, big oil/energy for their excessive profits.
    KBR/Halliburton (and any other beneficiary of his preemptive Iraq war) might pony up some of their no-bid profits also.
    Rescind any tax benefits for the top tier also.

    January 15, 2009 at 4:47 pm |
  181. Kiran, Atlanta,GA

    Just Tax cuts won't work. We need a tax holiday for the whole year. Shutdown IRS for a year. Refund the entire tax collected in 2008. This way we save lot of money IRS salaries and people get a whole lot more to save or spend.

    January 15, 2009 at 4:49 pm |
  182. Joe in VA

    It should focus on government spending for things will will strengthening the nation both short and long term. Such actions like renewable energy, (remember when that was the crisis of the moment), infrastructure, making buildings more efficient, schools, etc. We simply cannot have it both ways. All these programs and initiatives cost and our long term debt is a huge problem looming over our head. We need to pay our way as much as possible. I'd like a tax cut as much as anyone else but I'd rather put the nation first.

    Joe in VA
    Chatham, VA

    January 15, 2009 at 4:51 pm |
  183. Anna

    Tax cuts for corporation will not do anything. Most of our corporation send jobs offshore so they will not create jobs here. We need to stop bad trade agreements, bring jobs back, start actually produce products that we use and not depend on India and China. Tax cuts will not help to create jobs.

    January 15, 2009 at 4:52 pm |
  184. I.M. Sparticus along the Apian way

    in fact they should do away with taxes on anyone, or any buisness that makes more than $250,000.00 a year.
    it's the poor that cost the rest of us REAL Americans from
    enjoying our hard earned money.

    January 15, 2009 at 4:52 pm |
  185. Ryan

    Taxes are the answer period. I am from Canada and we have much higher taxes you in America. Generally Americans believe they are better than the rest of the world and your egos won't let you agree to something a minor player like Canada is doing. Right now our economy is much better than yours and is only lagging a bit because our economy is so closly tied with yours (sigh)....No I do not hate America, I am dissapointed that Americans, consider themselves Americans first and not citizens of this world.

    January 15, 2009 at 4:57 pm |
  186. shobana sridhar florida

    Tax cuts is the right choice. Government Spending will cause the already overburdened economy into an overdrive and send the economy swirling into the deepest quagmire from where there would be no looking back. Tax cuts is a safer bet.

    January 15, 2009 at 5:03 pm |
  187. David from Dallas

    Spending to create jobs to repair our infrastructure such as crumbling roads and bridges should be the first priority. Also forcing auto-makers to use new green technology in order to get federal bail out dollars should create new jobs. The new jobs will generate tax revenues that should eventually offset the spending outlay. They just need to look back at the New Deal programs such as the CCC and other depression-era programs. With the obstructionist Republican senators that remain in Washington, nothing will probably get done other than additional tax cuts for the wealthy.

    January 15, 2009 at 5:05 pm |
  188. Melissa

    Cut the taxes.

    January 15, 2009 at 5:06 pm |
  189. Beverly Joan Freeman

    Tax Cuts for Companies who Hire 50+ Workers

    President Elect Barack Obama; said in a recent speech, that “We are not alone.”

    Thank you for allowing me this forum to address an issue that has haunted me for nearly three decades.

    After being a national recruiter for more than 27 years and like many other executives, managers, human resources and recruiting professionals; we were very aware of the unspoken reality that accompanied recession, economic down turn, and company reorganization.

    Historically once the lay off cycles begin for the 50+ worker in America, the cycle is almost irreversible and thus starts the beginning of the end for that generation. The most alone and discriminated against segment of our population and a dirty little secret swept under corporate rugs for decades.

    Our Country has embraced the idea that knowledge, experience, wisdom, maturity and ability are lost with age and thus each new generation continues to re invent the wheel, ignore the vast knowledge of the past, make the same mistakes and perpetuate our own demise in world trade, exports and market shares.

    Inevitably “The trickle down effect will severely impact each and every house hold in America ; raising taxes to provide for unemployed aging workers; slicing into family budgets, life savings , college funds and generations to come.

    Each generation has been led to believe that working hard and doing a good job is the key to continued employment. THINK AGAIN … because that is exactly what the previous generation thought, believing that bad things happened to other people. Doing the same thing in the same way… gets what? Yup the same results.

    Certainly great strides have been made for equal rights, pay, equality for minorities/women, the disabled and seniors, through affirmative action and other programs.
    Many believe the programs / agencies currently in place will be adequate for transiting boomers; however realistically these programs were never designed to accommodate such large numbers of people re entering the work force.

    Amendments to our current affirmative action programs and new bills offering tax cuts, incentives, job share and more to companies who hire these workers ; a positive start essential for the future of Americans who are living and working longer.

    We have simultaneously experienced the economic decline of mortgage, banking ,wall street, auto manufactures ,national debt, loss of retirement funds, along with the largest ponzi scheme in world history, moving white collar criminals into “ the Most Evil category. “

    My urgent message to all working generations; is to address this issue now, before it soon becomes
    “Your Our Problem”.

    your comments /remarks regarding these issues are welcomed. Reliable50sBest@aol.com

    January 15, 2009 at 5:09 pm |
  190. Gerry In Toronto

    From what I can tell, Obama has an all-star economic team-some of the brightest economic advisers on the planet.

    It's above my pay grade and everyone else's to give him any advice contrary to what he's already getting.

    January 15, 2009 at 5:25 pm |