…with me. Will Straw wrote yesterday at Americanprogress.org that the things that will most stimulate the economy are measures that are aimed at those most in need among us. He specifically cites increasing money available for unemployment benefits and food stamps as examples, both examples that I’ve used repeatedly for effective ways to keep the economy moving, and he gives the same reasons I’ve given: when you put a little bit more money into the pockets of those who need it most on a regular, continuing basis, THEY SPEND IT. They spend it because they HAVE TO, because they NEED it.

So why should we give money to someone who has lost his job?

Because when we do, he can give that money to his landlord and his utility company and his local service station. He can pay for repairs on his car, replace appliances that break, and maybe, just maybe, afford an occasional small luxury like a movie or a dinner at the local diner. Each of those, in turn, can use that money to do all of those things, as well as to pay their taxes. And eventually, since the need for services is not falling (the apartment complex still needs maintenance men, the utilty company still needs meter readers, the gas station needs an attendant, the local supermarket needs more checkers), there are more jobs. It’s not a total solution, it’s a stopgap – but a stopgap in the truest sense of the word. It helps stop the bleeding, and any doctor can tell you that you can do the most brilliant surgery in the world, but if you can’t stop the bleeding from the wound, you’ll still lose the patient.

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