Buy more and be happy


You are a true believer. Blessings of the state. Blessings of the masses. Thou art a subject of the divine. Created in the image of man, by man, for man. Let us be thankful we have commerce. Buy more. Buy more now. Buy more and be happy.

Short of direct stimulus spending, a payroll tax holiday — at least with respect to the employee’s portion of Social Security and Medicare taxes — looks like the best, fastest and most politically feasible way to put money into the hands of people who will actually use it to buy more. A holiday on the employer’s portion of payroll taxes, albeit a necessary (if not sufficient) condition for Republican support, is going to be less effective stimulus.  To the extent the employee’s portion gets spent, the increase in aggregate demand is likely to have a greater impact on hiring decisions than the reduction in employers’ cost per employee.

Let us be thankful we have an occupation to fill. Work hard, increase production, prevent accidents, and be happy.

Either way, of course, a tax cut that actually works to stimulate the economy is the last thing the Republicans want. Republican congressmen will accuse Obama of raiding the Social Security and Medicare trust funds so he can buy free lunches for illegal immigrants and build a mosque in your home town, and New York Post readers will believe.  Republican advisors will argue that only regressive tax cuts create jobs, and Fox News Channel viewers will believe. Republican lobbyists will say that because a payroll tax holiday is only temporary, it results in more “regime uncertainty” and further undermines business confidence, and Wall Street Journal readers will believe.  And all the true believers will know, on some level, that two more years of slow-or-no growth and high unemployment is the key to Republican hopes in 2012.

For more enjoyment and greater efficiency, consumption is being standardized.