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Feel-Good Economics

Listen to this 'Talk of the Nation' topic

In libraries and wood-paneled offices, and in think tanks blocks away from NPR, economists are trying to figure out whether or not we're in a recession. Let's hope that, while we panic, they're coolly parsing data, trying to get us out of this mess. Some people have suggested that a tax rebate may help the economy rebound. Bruce Bartlett, who was was deputy assistant secretary of the Treasury for economic policy during the administration of President George H.W. Bush, disagrees.

In a new opinion piece, published in The Wall Street Journal, Bartlett argues that tax rebates won't solve anything. "There is virtually no empirical evidence that tax rebates are an effective response to economic slowdowns," he writes. Bartlett cites big names: Keynes, Friedman, Modigliani, Steindel, and Blinder. We'll talk to him in the second hour. Do you agree with Bartlett? What would you like to see in a federal economic stimulus package?

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David Gura
Based in New York, David Gura is a correspondent on NPR's business desk. His stories are broadcast on NPR's newsmagazines, All Things Considered, Morning Edition and Weekend Edition, and he regularly guest hosts 1A, a co-production of NPR and WAMU.