In the January 3rd Wall Street Journal Edward I. Koch, former mayor of New York City, had a letter to the editor published under the headline "Let's Help Our Veterans While Helping the Economy." Koch bemoaned the amount of money spent to date on the economic crisis without any apparent success. And he then offered his suggestions "that will at least give us something more tangible for that ongoing generosity with taxpayers' money."
Why don't we authorize the secretary of the Treasury to buy up to 1.5 million automobiles at a price on average of $30,000 each, which comes to $45 billion. Also, provide the authorization to buy up to 300,000 houses in foreclosure that were part of the subprime mortgage fiasco, at an average cost of $300,000, in aggregate less than $500 billion. Then give a car and a house as a bonus to every veteran of our current wars in Iraq and Afghanistan. I will leave to Hank Paulson and his successor the job of working out the details of distribution, e.g., lottery, fairness, region, etc. The veteran should be required to live in the house, unable to sell for five years, and demonstrate an income that can support his/her maintaining the now mortgage-free home.This is truly a novel suggestion -- one that would be interesting to see seriously considered by the new administration.
The total cost of this package is approximately $500 billion, depending on the number of veterans, while President-elect Obama's projected stimulus package is a reputed $800 billion. Most important, our veterans get something tangible for our money, as opposed to the bailouts to date, which are sweetheart giveaways.