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A perfect storm door against a U.S. recession?

Cries of coming recession must not trigger a political split in Washington over a stimulus response.

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This being both an election year and one that began with the economy cooling, Americans will hear a Goldilocks' debate on how government can heat up a $14 trillion economy. Will a tax-and-cash stimulus package be too little or too much? Too early or too late?

And that's only the short-term perspective, focused mainly on some forecasts of a recession over the coming year.

In the presidential primaries, voters tell pollsters their top concerns are basic economic needs, such as rising prices for energy and healthcare and less job security. And indeed, candidates have offered long-term reforms defining new and different types of a federal role in the economy. But in the past week, candidates have also begun to offer sound bite proposals for a quick economic spur.

That more immediate public debate will shape behind-the-scenes discussions already begun between the White House and congressional Democrats over an "emergency" stimulus package.

At the outset, those talks appear to be bipartisan. Both the White House and Hill Democrats, for instance, have the similar idea of putting cash into the hands of consumers, hoping they will spend it rather than save it. After all, one party controls Congress, the other the presidency. Each could be blamed for a recession, so each has a stake in preventing or softening one.

And Washington may have heard the voters' message in the primaries for less political posturing, which causes stalemates, and more across-the-aisle compromise.


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