Young Voices

Tuesday, March 3, 2009

Stimulating the economy

Young Voices is a Pilot-Tribune feature showcasing the opinion writing of area students.

What's up with our economy? Are we in a recession or is this new plan going to give us the boost we need? Obama's economic stimulus plan is the talk of the town as of late. But does anyone really know what this is and what he plans to do with it?

Obama's stimulus plan is a "quick fix" to all of our economic problems. This plan includes refund checks on taxes, aid in health insurance, social security, more money in education, aid for new homeowners as well as other funding people feel are detrimental to our economy. It is just "giving" the people billions of dollars to help them get back on their feet.

This "quick fix" may not be possible according to J. David Goodman, author of "White House Says Stimulus Plan Won't Be a Quick Fix." He stated. in The New York Times, Obama himself "...has said it's likely to get worse before it gets better" when referring to the economy.

To get a better understanding of what this plan is about, I talked to 3 different professors in the Siebens School of Business. I asked them what they thought of the stimulus plan. My goal was to find out what it may or may not accomplish, whether or not it will be helpful or hurtful to the economy and if it will affect college students in some way.

I met with Instructor of Economics Tim Meyer. His opinion is the stimulus plan is just "...a political move showing that government officials are doing their jobs as defined to look out for the well being of their constituents," Meyer said.

He also mentioned when the bill was voted on, it was a straight ticket vote. Obama's promise of bipartisanship did not happen because of how differently Democrats and Republicans view the economy. Going from this perspective, Republicans tend to want to spend this "tax cut money" in ways which will best fit to help themselves, whereas Democrats would rather spend the money on different government projects.

Meyer explained things are really shaky at the present time when discussing how beneficial this new plan would be. Currently we are doing alright, we have not hit rock bottom yet.

"The nerdy economist in me would say that it will prolong the agony. It's like taking a bandaid off slowly instead of really fast," Meyer said.

Consumers are not feeling safe in their spending and it is what is causing some of the problems in the economy. According to Meyer, "until consumers are confident again, we will not recover."

I also talked to Dean of the School of Business, Stan Ullerich.

"The economy is not in a bad place right now. However, the unemployment rate is the highest it has been in 18 years," Ullerich said.

He views the stimulus plan not as an economic stimulus, but more-so a redistribution of income. People are restricted when spending money on goods, and are almost forced to buy domestic goods to save the jobs we may lose.

"It is not necessarily the best plan...but it is a good start," Ullerich said.

This seems to be a common thought amongst students and professors alike.

Each individual has probably thought about how bad this plan could be on the economy, but they have also probably thought about how it could be beneficial.

I interviewed Associate Professor of Finance Lei Wen.

Wen thinks the stimulus plan is "a very complex package" which is "hard to define simply."

"It's very hard to predict the future in the next three to five years, but in general, I feel that it is a nice accessory action because it's better than doing nothing," Wen said when asked if he thought this plan would be beneficial.

When it comes to the students, Professor Wen said the ones who would benefit the most would be the graduates. With everything this stimulus plan includes, it would only make sense that these students in particular would be affected because they are the future...

Whether you love the new bill, think it is alright or don't even like to think about it, it is part of our future. I am nervous for what the future holds, but I am confident the economic stimulus plan will be beneficial to all of us in the end.