The Corner

Helicopter Ben and the New Lottery

I had a column on Friday in which I touted the idea of suspending the income tax for 2008 (2009 works for me too!). Some liberal readers thought that wasn’t “innovative” enough. So herewith begins a new series of modest propsals on what we could do with the money instead.

Ben Bernanke has gotten a lot of grief for his line — borrowing from Friedman — that the Fed could always just drop bags of money from helicopters if things got really bad. Well, that’s probably a bad idea (though not without its amusing possibilities).

But why not have a daily national lottery where the grand prize is $1 billion dollars tax free? At $365 billion dollars a year, it would take most of Obama’s administration to equal the cost of what we’ve already laid out.  Stimulus plans give a few hundred bucks to individual Americans. What are they going to do? Meanwhile imagine what 365 new billionaires would buy! We could put strings attached (you have to stay in the country, for starters).  I trust 365 random Americans to generate jobs faster than a bunch of bureaucrats. We could use Social Security numbers for the lottery.

The explosion in reality shows alone would stimulate the economy more than a bunch of new windmills.

Most Popular

Economy & Business

CRISPR Will Make GMOs Ubiquitous

Labels multiply in supermarkets faster than salmonella at a convenience-store sushi bar. It’s important to keep up; we should all be well-informed eaters. But the onslaught of clean food, natural products, sustainably produced, gluten free, butterflies everywhere, and GMO-free sea salt are just too much. The ... Read More

In Canada, Another Tough Guy Finishes First

Doug Ford was elected head of the Conservative party of Ontario last week, and as the blustering blonde gripped the podium on the night of his narrow victory, the conclusion was clear: The tough-guy takeover of North American politics is continuing apace. Ford, an ex–city councilor who shares the blue-collar ... Read More
White House

All Trump All the Time

It can be hard to keep one’s wits about oneself during the Age of Trump. Our president is like the ringmaster of a circus, and the American people are his enthralled spectators. It seems as if we cannot get enough. Love him or hate him, he remains at the center of our public consciousness. It is hard to ... Read More
White House

Why Tillerson Had to Go

Of all the abrupt comings and goings in this administration, the dismissal of Rex Tillerson is undoubtedly the most important — maybe one of the most important firings since Harry Truman fired Douglas MacArthur during the Korean War. By dismissing MacArthur, Truman drew a firm line between military and ... Read More
Politics & Policy

Hillary’s Other America

I am still chuckling at Hillary Clinton’s speech in India. Among the things she said: If you look at the map of the United States, there is all that red in the middle, places where Trump won. What that map doesn’t show you is that I won the places that own two thirds of America’s Gross Domestic product. ... Read More
Politics & Policy

Samantha Power Regrets

‘I’ve had a lot of bad ideas in my life,” former U.N. ambassador Samantha Power tells Politico. “Though none as immortalized as that one.” Wow. It’s a major concession. And what might “that one” be? Not standing idly by in the White House while Iranians protested a fixed election in 2009, then ... Read More