The Bailbondsman Approach Part Deux: Fiscal Stimulus No Gonna Workie
This is perhaps the first time in the history of blogdom, that someone will have used "Uncle Ben," in two different contexts in back-to-back blogs, that is unless you're a rice blogger and you have a real uncle named Benjamin.
The "Uncle Ben" I refer to is our new Chairman of the Board of Governors for the Federal Reserve Ben Bernanke. Even while supporting the stupid -- I mean Fiscal Stimulus Package that he had to support because the guy shilling for it gave him his job -- rebate that the government is giving us, he warned that any stimulus that "comes too late will not help support economic activity in the near term, and it could be actively destabilizing if it comes at a time when growth is already improving."
It's the first part of that thought that I find particularly striking. This $300 to $600 to "up to" $1,200 that some of us will be getting sometime in May or June or in many cases, never, is like the "Micky and Pals" brand Band-Aid over the gaping gun shot wound. Take these few C-notes, head off to Wal-Mart, then we'll be able to get these people whose houses are foreclosed back into those houses and everything will be dandy.
Wrong. Dead Wrong
If anything, tax rebates should be put into individually assigned savings accounts that we're not allowed to touch and then the amount should be able to collect interest for us. The account will then have a balance that the government can borrow against to put in place real safeguards for the economy and environmental stability like a viable healthcare system, infrastructure improvements, respectable national transportation, a bailout perhaps of the common man and not the common investment bank. I know it's pinko communist talk but these are ideas that in the long run would save us the money we're spending and would be put to better use than a new I-pod to offset $10 Trillion in rogue credit default sway and derivatives contracts, still floating around Wall Street.
The reason Pay Day Loans are legal and thriving, the reason credit card debt is up, the reason people now find themselves on the opposite side of the threshold from homes they couldn't afford in the first place is temporary fixes. Stopgaps and living paycheck to paycheck is a sure way to not be able to leave anything to your kids and find yourself working extra hours or another job entirely because you're deeper into debt than you were before.
The government is essentially giving us money it doesn't have so we can spend money that some of us don't have and that's ours in the first place. Moreover, the one thing they don't tell the people is that for every person getting a check, there may be people who owe and we'll see their rebates eaten up, or people who haven't filed in a while and won't be getting a dime. There are also certain income stipulations, which determine if you are even eligible. So suddenly the $150 billion goes down to maybe $100 billion and with the money and resources spent processing these meager checks, maybe down to $95 billion.
As I've espoused before and will emphasize again - as I'm wont to do in a blog suited for such a purpose - it's necessary for us to think differently about our wants and needs and our purposes and the real-world applications that accompany them. The government is telling you to live beyond your means so you can continue to support it living beyond its means.
Conservation is not just an environmental buzzword, it applies to our pockets as well. If we were all to decide to put that money in the bank instead of right back into the machine, maybe that would send a message to our leaders that we want to be a country of makers again and not spenders, a country of prudence and not waste.
It starts with all of us as individuals. Now go check your mailbox and check yourself while you're at it.