Why don't we pay food stamps and unemployment benefits indefinitely to stimulate the economy?

This question is asking why we do not change the policy to widen the effects that are seen.

We can only hypothesize what the answer would be. So are these types of questions on topic?

I do not think these are necessarily asking for opinions since you could in theory make a constructive fact based answer to this.

  • This is a great question. I'm not sure I agree with your answer, but not sure I disagree either. I'd love to see some answers first :) Jul 2, 2013 at 17:58
  • @AffableGeek - I haven't posted an answer. Like you I am not sure. I think most answers that question will get will be opinion but that is a problem of the person answering rather than the question. But that is why I think it needs to be answered here Jul 2, 2013 at 19:27
  • "I do not think these are necessarily asking for opinions since you could in theory make a constructive fact based answer to this." Jul 2, 2013 at 19:31
  • But I agree, this is a great question! Jul 2, 2013 at 19:31
  • I'd vote 'no' for for the reason that there is no easily discernable 'right' answer, so makes it less suited to the SE format.
    – user1530
    Jul 2, 2013 at 21:48
  • @AffableGeek and chad: I took a stab at answering it. I'll leave it up to you two as to whether or not it was more factual or opinion based (I'm leaning towards the latter)
    – user1530
    Jul 3, 2013 at 2:42
  • 1
    @DA FWIW I think that is probably as close to a fact based answer as is likely to be seen. Jul 3, 2013 at 13:21
  • This question is not about the hypothetical effects of a policy - it is about the reasons why a policy is (or is not) adopted. Jul 3, 2013 at 15:12
  • 1
    @DJClayworth I think it's about the hypothetical reasons why a policy is not proposed. (as far as I know, no one has ever formally proposed that every citizen should get food stamps, for example)
    – user1530
    Jul 3, 2013 at 15:41
  • There may be actual reasons why a policy is not proposed. I don't think the question is about giving food stamps to everyone, but about continuing benefits paid during a slowdown after the slowdown finishes. Jul 3, 2013 at 15:55
  • Interestingly the result is 0 net votes for on topic and 1 vote against off topic... Jul 12, 2013 at 19:02

3 Answers 3


They should be on topic.

You can definitely make a constructive answer - there are economics projection studies done on those topics all the time.

Granted, some answers may be subjective, but that's what voting's for.

  • @Chad - if the question is about politics, AND can be answered constructively, it should be on topic.
    – user4012
    Jul 3, 2013 at 15:00

They should be off topic.

Despite the potential for a constructive answer they are more likely to spawn answers that result in commentary and opinion than objective and well referenced answers. Because it is hypothetical valid arguments can be made for using conjecture or assumptions that may not be valid, or accurate. For example with the question here there is an assumption that the improvement to the economy will be linear based on the amount of money put into the program.

  • We can treat those answers like we do on skeptics. Answers without citations should be ignored or downvoted.
    – Publius
    Aug 3, 2013 at 10:25
  • @Avi - The problem is even on skeptics answers that are popular but bad get upvotes. But the point of this question was to decide if the community wanted to have discussion about hypothetical situations and the answer appears to be yes they do. Aug 5, 2013 at 16:00
  • that's good. I don't think we can really solve the problem of bad answers sometimes getting upvotes. I'm not sure I could find a StackExchange site where that didn't happen sometimes.
    – Publius
    Aug 6, 2013 at 1:06
  • @Avi - Because there is alot of good that can come from a question like: politics.stackexchange.com/questions/1671/… Aug 9, 2013 at 4:04
  • So far, all answers to that question have negative votes. I'm not sure what good you're expecting.
    – Publius
    Aug 9, 2013 at 5:21
  • 1
    @Avi - I think the questions are broken windows that do more harm than any possible good answer can remedy Aug 9, 2013 at 12:12

Questions like this fall into the category of discussion topics, and are quite rarely concrete questions.

  • Examples please?
    – user4012
    Aug 11, 2013 at 18:06

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