After pouring billions into a black hole bailout program no one seems to understand and which gave us only greedy, rich, no-account executives getting richer and greedier as their businesses crumbled, it’s time for a stimulus program that will work immediately for all hard-working American taxpayers.
Let’s ask President Obama and Congress to put the money where it will immediately create jobs, raise morale and put dollars into the hands of those who will rapidly inject them back into the local, regional and national economy.
We need the Bottom-up Economic Stimulus through Tourism program. B.E.S.T. will send every adult taxpayer, their dependents and every adult social security recipient a check for $500. These checks will be good for use in the 2009 calendar year only and can be used only in payment for a vacation (at least two nights and 100 miles from the home address) at state certified travel businesses (resorts, lodging, dining, transportation, amusement and tour operators) within the United States.
Each state will publish, on the web and in newspapers, a list of businesses certified within the state so individuals can quickly make reservations and start enjoying their “stimulus”.
This will quickly put money into travel businesses that will immediately hire workers to deal with the increased demand. These businesses historically offer good employment to millions of people who are young, older, new to the work force, minorities, students and many in need of part-time jobs. These people, and the businesses who employ them, spend and re-invest their earnings as fast as they get them, thus rapidly circulating the dollars back into their local communities. These earnings support other local merchants and organiions. These are the people who get a pay check – and spend it locally. They buy cars, make mortgage payments, pay for rent, food and other consumer goods
These businesses and their employees pay local, sales, state and federal income taxes, so revenues will increase.
Of course a vacation would do everyone some good, improve morale, help families bond, build an appreciation of nature, educate traveling students and literally help get this country happily back on the road again.
It will not solve all our problems, but it will be a better, quicker and more successful shot in the arm than the useless massive transfusion we gave to the walking dead in the financial community.
Write your Congressional representatives and President Obama, post it on your website, Face Book, MySpace and Twitter. We need B.E.S.T. now!
Gary Knowles is a Madison based travel writer and marketing consultant to travel, hospitality and entertainment businesses who served as the Director of Communications for the Wisconsin Division of Tourism from 1979-93 under Governors Dreyfus, Earl and Thompson.