A new economic package?

A NEW ECONOMIC PACKAGE?…. I’ve had a few posts lately, suggesting the White House would be wise to push a new economic package with an emphasis on job creation. With the recovery stalling, hoping that the status quo will improve just isn’t enough. There’s public demand for more government intervention, and it’d be good policy and good politics to act quickly.

For all the evidence that the administration isn’t inclined to push a new economic package, the Wall Street Journal reports today that a proposal may be considered after all.

The Obama administration is considering a range of new measures to boost economic growth, including tax cuts and a new nationwide infrastructure program, according to people familiar with the discussions.

The president’s economic team has met frequently in recent days to list ways to bolster the struggling recovery, according to government officials.

On the list of possible actions: additional tax cuts for small businesses beyond those included in a $30 billion small-business lending bill before the Senate. It’s not clear what those tax breaks would target or how much they might cost in lost revenue to the government.

Also in the mix: a possible payroll tax cut for businesses and individuals, as well as other business tax breaks, according to people familiar with the discussions. Currently, income taxes are scheduled to rise with the expiration of Bush-era tax cuts at the end of this year.

It’s hard to assess the merits of such a plan without more details, and it’s probably premature to consider what kind of resistance this would face in Congress. Indeed, the WSJ is the only outlet reporting that such a proposal is even a possibility.

But part of me wonders — this really is just speculation — if there’s a debate underway among administration officials, and some are leaking to gain leverage. Some told ABC last week that no additional economic plans will be forthcoming, so today, another part of the team tells the Wall Street Journal that a new package may be on the way after all.

On Monday, President Obama specifically told reporters his administration is “hard at work in identifying additional measures that could make a difference,” and he’d “address these proposals in further detail in the days and weeks to come.” Is this news part of that effort?

So, if the WSJ article is a trial balloon or part of a fight for leverage, let me take a side: yes, do something. A new package with tax breaks and infrastructure would probably less effective than spending alone, but craft a package that stands a chance of passing quickly.