NCPA's Bartlett To Congress: Think Before You Act

Economist To Tell Lawmakers What Economy Needs, They Can't Provide

WASHINGTON, D.C. (October. 2, 2001) - In his nationally syndicated column, which will run in papers on Wednesday, NCPA Senior Fellow Bruce Bartlett urges lawmakers to "remain calm and not overreact" to the economic pressures following the events of September 11.

"Economists and lawmakers of every political stripe are scrambling to come up with plans to stimulate the economy. It seems certain that something will be done. The question is what and will the cure be worse than the disease?

"We must be prepared to target stimulus to the nature of the problem. Increasing consumer demand, through tax rebates or temporary cuts in the payroll tax, might help if consumers lacked purchasing power. But that is not the case. Consumers as a whole are generally well off. They are not refusing to spend because they lack the funds, but because they lack confidence.

"The proposals being bandied about appear ill-targeted to the economy's real problem, probably won't have any impact until the economy has recovered on its own, and may have a negative impact in the longer run.

"What the economy desperately needs is not anything Congress can enact."

To receive an advance copy of Bartlett's Wednesday column for Creator's syndicate, or to schedule an interview with him to discuss the many proposals for economic stimulus, contact the NCPA's public affairs office.