Ryan Chartrand

The recently-announced tax rebates annoy me. Reading the Wall Street Journal and attending an economics class have given me a little information about this measure, which is intended to stimulate consumer spending and thereby ward off a possible recession.

On a simple level, I understand how this unexpected influx of cash is intended to influence production, income, employment, inventory, and a bucket of similarly fascinating economic minutae. There is a legion of very smart, well-informed economists and policy-makers working around the clock to craft the very best response to the cloudy conditions around us. They have forecasts, recommendations, fiscal and monetary policies, charts, graphs, and indices. And when they are done, they will put their final policy into action and hope for the best.

This is where I become annoyed. Have there been any fireside chats? I have missed them. Has any official or figurehead levelled with the general public, explaining the situation and asking for effort on our part to address it? I know of none. Instead, we are treated as dull agents completely occupied with a shallow world of stimulus and response, which only the experts can transcend. Our behavior is considered to be little more than a convergence of rote urges. We can be infinitely modeled, poked and prodded, but talking to us makes no more sense to them than would talking to a cow or a goldfish.

This is untrue and unjust. Economic models do indeed work, but this is because we are rational creatures whose actions are informed by the situations in which we find ourselves. We make concious decisions for ourselves as best as we know how. We do need experts, but as members of our communities, not as lofty wizards whose thoughts we cannot share.

Our world and its future matter to us, and we are willing to make changes and sacrifices. We’ve done so before. Come on – talk to us!

Eric Baldwin is an electrical engineering senior and a guest columnist for the Mustang Daily.

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