by Patrick Appel
A reader writes:
As the Federal government is busy trying to stimulate the economy, many state governments are actively de-stimulating the economy. California's been getting most of the press on this front recently because of its sheer size and, um, special politics. But a large majority of states are slashing both their employment levels and their social safety nets, two avenues for spending that have a strong direct impact on consumer spending levels. So states have the ultimate shovel-ready program - not firing people. It's instantaneous. If one accepts the argument that a second stimulus is good in principle, the practice would be to give the money to state governments to support existing programs. They would have no trouble spending it, and quickly.