Journalists are notoriously bad at economic matters, so help us out here if we're missing something.
But perhaps the proposal by some Republican senators to send $100 checks to 100 million Americans to help offset high gas prices was more of a PR stunt than a grounded economic measure.
The proposal was roundly criticized by Republicans, Democrats, Op-Ed writers, Average People At the Gas Station Tracked Down by Intrepid Reporters, and evil oil company executives. All of this opposition only succeeded in pushing the plan further into "bad idea" territory. Instead of imposing an arbitrary tax on oil companies to pay for the arbitrary rebate, Senate majority leader Bill Frist (R-TN) pledged to find another, unspecified way to come up with the $10 billion necessary to fund the measure. Perhaps we can borrow it from Iran.
The most surprising aspect of this fiasco was that it unified all edges of the loony political spectrum against something that would have put actual money in the pockets of voters just before a midterm election. Even US Senators, a group of powerful lawyers who regularly dress up in overalls and pose in photo-ops with farmers, found the plan to be too egregiously artificial.
As fake solutions to real problems go, cutting token checks to the public is a bit like offering someone a dollar after you spilled your drink all over that person's mink coat; either break out the really big bucks, or keep the money in your pocket and just promise not to be so clumsy in the future.
3. On the right track