Economic Stimulus the Esrati way

I’ve heard some crazy ideas about sending everyone a check to try to get the economy going. Unfortunately, that’s a short term salve with a hefty bill.

A simple solution would require the banks (who’ve gotten us into this credit crunch in the first place) to take a bit of a spanking, but, with the Fed currently auctioning off money like a fire sale, we are in crisis mode already.

The simple solution:

  • Cap all credit card interest rates at 18.9%. At almost 4x the fed funds rate, banks should still be able to make money. Along with this, reset all ARM’s immediately to the current prime. With the prime the lowest in years, this should help most homeowners free up some cash to pay down other debt.
  • Stop compounding penalties on credit cards. Either a late fee, an over the limit fee, or an increase to max rate- but not any combination. Also, when cards go over the limit, deny further charges. Letting people continue digging into a deeper hole is criminal.
  • Cap all salaries for publicly traded companies at 1 million, unless the company has increased it’s workforce AND payroll in the United States that fiscal year. If CEO’s want more money, they must take the companies private. No more gambling with shareholders funds. This would be mandatory for 1 year as an emergency measure, reevaluated annually by Congress until the dollar stops dropping and foreclosures ease.
  • Set a deadline of June 1, 2008 for stock trading speculation. After that date, all investments must be held for at least 1 year, without paying penalties of 90% on all capital gains. Volatility of the markets is causing panic and irrational behavior.

To prove a point: Google has not changed it’s business model in the last 6 months- explain this stock chart:

Stock Chart for Google in last 6 months

At some point, the casino atmosphere on Wall Street has to stop. We used to measure by GNP, now, we seem more interested with the DIA and the NASDAQ.

Before anyone starts saying that we have no right to intervene in the operation of public companies, may I remind you that we have bailed out Chrysler, imposed protectionist tariffs to protect Harley Davidson, and allowed the folks at Enron and Countrywide to cash out with huge jackpots while making billions disappear. Unfortunately, it’s these same people who make the millions, that are funding our politicians campaign chests.

These may seem like radical measures, but to the people who are losing their jobs, their homes, their retirement plans- while the wizards on Wall Street are cashing in multi-million dollar paychecks without producing anything tangible, we’re headed for a complete economic collapse. When other countries are considering dropping their currency’s link to the dollar, it’s time we made sure that the buck stops here, before it slips any deeper into debt.

Handing back tax dollars, while going deeper in debt, is a desperate move by an administration that has already hawked the farm and gambled it away. We need to admit we’ve been operating in an irrational mode for the last 8 years and buckle down and start making things and jobs again here in this country.

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