I remain concerned that the Stimulus Bill is going to live up to its title.  Weighing in on this today in the Washington Post is Robert J. Samuelson in piece entitled Obama’s Stunted Stimulus.  Among his criticisms of the bill is Samuelson’s view, echoing my own and previously expressed here, that the Alternative Minimum Tax fix that the Republican moderates managed to get inserted into the bill at a cost of $85 billion isn’t very stimulatory.  Samuelson additionally observes that Congress would have passed it anyway, as it does every year. 

Given that the country needs more real stimulus, how about the President and Congress taking some time and passing an $85 billion stimulus bill that actually stimulates the economy and upon which both Democrats and Republicans can agree.  It is entirely doable and most needed.

Another interesting idea, aimed at the banking crisis, was floated in an Op-ed in the Washington Post yesterday by Ricardo J. Caballero, the head of the Economics Department at MIT.  The piece is entitled How to Lift a Falling Economy.  He suggests:

The government pledges to buy up to twice the number of bank shares currently available, at twice some recent average price, in five years.

While the policy is about future (and unlikely) interventions, the immediate impact would be enormous. In particular, it would turn around the negative dynamics of stock markets, and it would allow banks to raise private capital.

It’s intriguing, and since nothing else is working, it might be worth a try.  It’s certainly better that the “nationalization” option so seemingly popular especially among liberals.