Stimulate me!February 3, 2009: 10:35 AM ET
Experts seem relatively unified, if such a thing is possible, on the issue of direct economic stimulus to every taxpayer. They're against it. If all the various monies now being set aside were used, the check for each of us would come to nearly 10 grand, apparently. But the economists don't think it's a good idea.
The problem is that given all the bad news, past and future, most of us, it is feared, would simply do what the big banks have done with their bailouts: tuck them away for a rainier day. They were supposed to take their money and fork it over to people who wanted to borrow it. Ha! they said. We're keeping it warm and dry, except for the cash we're earmarked for bonuses. Smart bankers. They care about the economy. They know that if you give an executive hundreds of millions of dollars they will spend a bunch of it, and that will stimulate everybody.
Us smaller fry, it is thought, would take the $10,000 from Uncle Sam and put it in one of those teetering institutions, rather than putting it back into the economy where it is so desperately needed. As the Wall Street Journal pointed out yesterday, people aren't spending enough, inventories are rising, the system is going stagnant and we're all doomed. Or perhaps that was Sunday. It doesn't matter. The gist is clear. We're all very selfish and if we got a bailout of any kind we wouldn't be responsible citizens and spend it right away.
Well I, for one, would like to assure the government that, should I receive $10,000 as a part of the national recovery effort, I would spend every penny of it. Possible areas of expenditure include:
- Blind auctions for certain educational and religious institutions
- New shocks for old Volvo
- Vacations (domestic)
- Cost of maintaining elderly cocker spaniel
- Expenses associated with under-compensated semi-adult children
- Heat, electricity, gas, etc.
- Grass-fed beef
This is of course just a cursory list. I'm sure I could generate a whole bunch more if I really thought about it. Just sitting here I'm probably spending money on something I don't even know about. In fact, 10 grand might not do it. Give me 20 and I'll really show 'em something.
How about you. Are you willing to take the pledge? Write your Congressman. Tell him or her that you are committed to spending whatever they give us. If all of us come together in one giant shout, perhaps we'll get the job done to the benefit of us all. Have you seen the price of dinner and movie these days?