In an article entitled, 'A stimulus plan to get America rolling again' (Wednesday, January 8th, 2003), newspaper columnist Rob Morse said the recently-announced $674 billion economic stimulus plan to eliminate taxes on stock dividends will not stimulate the economy.
But if Americans were to be handed money to buy bikes - and then ride 'em - that would definitely boost the ecomomy. Hmm, especially the US bicycle economy!
Morse: "It might do wonders for Northern California mountain bike manufacturers, if they can retool to make lines of bicycles that cost less than $2000 and retrain unemployed airline workers to build hub-and-spoke systems that actually get people somewhere.
"By purchasing bicycles, Americans will fight the obesity epidemic and reduce dependence on foreign oil at the same time. When the war on Iraq comes, they'll have a way to get around. The only problem is one we'll eventually have to face anyway: China.
"The Chinese are just catching up with us in space, but we suffer from an immense bicycle gap. Last year, 21 million bicycles were sold in the United States, and 20 million of them were imported, almost half from China. The [Morse Economic Stimulus] Plan specifies that tax rebates be spent on bicycles made in America rather than Axles of Evil nations.
"If you think giving Americans tax breaks for bikes is a ridiculous idea, consider the Bush economic stimulus plan -- basically a tax break for Beemers. By eliminating taxes on stock dividends, the president isn't doing much for those of us with tax-free 401(k)s, despite the claims of his aides.
"The 2001 Bush rebate worked for me. I used the $300 to stimulate my palate at an overpriced French restaurant.
"Gas is $1.80 a gallon, and I'm tired of stimulating the economy of the president's petro pals. I'm getting on my bike. Sure could use a new one."