Sending out checks to every person in the country is not such a good idea. Those who have not been working don’t need to replace the wages that weren’t there to begin with. Their retirement system, welfare payments, or whatever other sources are untouched by the shutdown. Those who are still working don’t need them, since their wages continue. Those who have lost jobs are covered under the unemployment program. That serves the purpose of protecting families during this time of shutdown.
The Keynesians argue that putting money into people’s hands will allow them to spend more, and thus increase aggregate demand. Without the production that comes from their working, however, that is simply a consumption of the nation’s wealth and borrowing from future productivity. Wealth does not and will never come from increasing consumption. Increasing demand without increasing production can only increase prices.
Government spending, even if it is justified by situations like the present crisis, is not and never can be economic stimulus. Any money that the government spends in any area or any level of the economy must necessarily come from that economy. It is the result of either taxation of present productivity and wealth or taxation of future productivity and wealth, in the form of government debt. Every single dollar that the government spends, it must get from you and the 165 million other productive Americans, either from taxing the income or assets you have now or taxing those in some future period. There is no magic spending fairy that grants politicians their wishes.
The record so-called stimulus spending of the prior recession, dwarfed by the current feeding frenzy, resulted not in quick recovery, but rather in the slowest recovery since the Great Depression. Monetary manipulation and massive political programs don’t produce anything. If anything, they get in the way of the productive sector, the one that actually provides all economic stimulation. If politicians really want to stimulate the economy, they don’t need to take trillions of dollars from the economy to redistribute back into the economy. They can just remove the shackles they impose on society through pet programs, restrictions, and destruction of wealth through waste.