News round-up: a local look at the stimulus package

Heard the news? President Obama is slated to sign the much-debated economic stimulus bill into law Tuesday in Denver. The bill made it through Congress on Friday when the Senate voted 60-38 in favor of the legislation — after weeks of debate about the best way to jolt the economy out of recession.The final ticket price: $787 billion. But the question you’re probably asking is: what does this mean for me? Or, more broadly, what does this mean for Vermonters?Good question. So far, it doesn’t look like there’s an easy answer — but over at the Burlington Free Press, a few experts weighed in. Among them is David Colander, professor of economics at Middlebury College. Colander offers this bit of wisdom: “Now is not the time to be focusing on what's good for individual states. The sole focus should be: What will slow, and possibly stop, the downward spiral that the U.S. economy is currently in. What I'm worried about is that we may not be able to stop it with any stimulus package. … (T)he government should be focusing on programs to lesson the pain of a prolonged recession — putting much more into unemployment insurance funds, and providing assisted health care for those who become unemployed. We may not be able to stop the unemployment, but we can lessen the pain somewhat.” Colander's two cents are one man's opinion (or, more accurately, one economics professor's opinion). What do you think? How do you feel about the stimulus package, and what do you think it might mean (or should mean) here at home?

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