It might seem at first blush like great news that the bipartisan agreement reached on January 24 between President Bush and leaders from the House of Representatives about a $150 billion economic stimulus package. That is, until one looks with greater discernment at what the tax rebates ($600 for individual taxpayers, $1200 for couples and $300 for each child) represent in terms of integrity.

Through these rebates, the United States government is role-modeling something very powerful about how okay it is to go into even deeper debt than the massive debt the U.S has already amassed. Think about it: where is the money these rebates are coming from? The money is coming from the money the government doesn’t even have! So, by including rebates as part of an economic stimulus package, the government is saying to its citizens that it’s fine for us to move even further out of financial integrity — it’s okay to deepen your debt.

But wait — it gets even better. The purpose of the rebates is to get consumers to spend more money in order to stimulate an economy that depends on ever-growing amounts of consumption. How many people do you think will put their rebates toward building their retirement? Very few I would guess. What percentage of the population do you think have put so little toward their retirement that they will live old age in poverty, dependent on a crumbling social security system? Well, some projections are that over 80% of us will end up in that boat. So, with this rebate, the government is also encouraging people to continue being out of integrity with their own long-term financial wellbeing and to continue to plan on the government taking care of them in old age.

No, the new bipartisan economic stimulus package is little more than bipartisan support for encouraging our economy to continue to be weighted to heavily in the direction of consumption rather than building financial security, and for citizens to be out of integrity with their long-term financial wellbeing and self-responsiblity.

This is a bipartisan shirking of its responsibility to role-model to its citizens the kind of integrity, self-responsibility and attentiveness to collective highest good upon which true democracy depends. I shudder to think about what our founding fathers would think about this.

So, again I reiterate: bipartisan solutions are great except when they model being out of integrity.

What do you think?