Friday, January 25, 2008

Stimulus Package, my foot

Let me guess how this is going to work. The last time we got a check from the government as part of an economic stimulus package it was a write off against our taxes for that year. It was deducted from any tax return we might have gotten (or against any taxes we might have been paying at the time). In short, we financed our stimulus package ... personally ... by borrowing from our future money.

Don't plan on your 2008 tax return being of the magnitude its been for the last couple of years.

In the meantime, we're also underwriting new tax breaks for corporations and for the wealthy (also part of this current package)... again. Those breaks will be part of the legacy we're passing on to our children ... because the money eventually has to come from somewhere.

There is no free money ... ever.

The delightful thought of "letting people keep more of their own money" sounds great at first blush ... but the cost of our national infrastructure (roads, dams, educational systems), the military -- including our current wars, and the social programs that help to keep our streets from looking like the beggar laden byways of Bangladesh by providing a safety net for our elderly ... well, those meters are still running.

This advance on your tax return is supposed to be spent at the mall. Buying goods is supposed to be the way out of this financial mess created by cheap and easy credit. So ... you go out and buy a new pair of sneakers (made in China) or a new computer (made in Taiwan) or maybe some clothes (made in Nicaragua or the Dominican Republic). Or maybe you decide to spend the money on food like beef (from Argentina) or fruits and vegetables (grown in Mexico). That sure doesn't sound like it's going to stimulate our economy much.

Paying your bills won't help much. You already bought (or committed to buy) that stuff. If you're paying a credit card bill, you're basically ... well, paying against a loan ... paying for the past not the future.

Actually, you can find wine and beer produced in the United States. Maybe the best thing would be to go out, hit a bar and binge. That's my plan, anyway.

In the meantime, the lenders who made all those bad deals will get a bailout that you're gonna pay for. No blame, no responsibility and certainly no penalty for convincing people who never should have taken a loan in the first place that investing in the Ponzi Scheme that's been the American housing market for the last 15 years was a good idea. They get to keep their millions in bonuses. Their deregulated companies get pulled back from the brink of disaster ... with additional tax breaks on top of it all ... and all you're gonna get is an opportunity to buy a T-shirt from Wal-Mart (with your own money, by the way) made by slave labor somewhere out in the world.

Have you been watching the stock market lately? (chuckle) Aren't you glad that we collectively didn't let Republicans "privatize" your Social Security account?

You haven't been hearing much about that lately, have you. Funny they're not bringing it up in the debates. Wonder why ...

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