No one ever went broke underestimating political cynicism, but these days even we can't keep up: On Wednesday, President Obama announced that he wants to send every American senior a $250 check.
"Even as we seek to bring about recovery, we must act on behalf of those hardest hit by this recession," Mr. Obama said. Of course it's a mere coincidence that these checks are being proposed, and probably passed, just as Congress is about to vote on health care.
Supposedly these "economic recovery payments" are justified because seniors won't get an inflation-adjusted increase in Social Security benefits this year. This zero cost-of-living, or COLA, increase has many seniors alarmed, and AARP and other lobbies have been fanning their anxiety. Mr. Obama's Wednesday news was timed to pre-empt yesterday's announcement of the zero COLA by the Social Security Administration. The $250 checks will funnel $13 billion to some 57 million beneficiaries—in addition to whatever they have already received as part of the $787 billion stimulus.