Friday, February 8, 2008

how to save the economy

According to President Bush, the best way to save us from recession is to give everyone–or anyway most of us–a few hundred dollars to blow as we see fit. And in this election year, the members of Congress from both parties supported this notion with all of their souls, even desiring to increase the gift out of the goodness of their hearts and the desperate desire to be sent back for another term.

Now I am the last person on Earth to pretend to be an economist–one look at my checkbook or my financial statement will tell you all you need to know about how little I truly comprehend about what Douglas Adams characterized as "the movements of small green pieces of paper"–but I do fancy myself at least to a miniscule extent to be a reasonable and logical person, and as such I cannot help wondering this:

Why in the world was a small tax rebate a bad thing five years ago when Bush did it the first time, a move roundly criticized by the Democratic leadership as futile and weak and ultimately bad for the economy, yet now it is something that they can support, get photographed together, hold hands and chant Kumbaya?

Of course I know that I answered that question in the opening paragraph: it's an election year and the Dems are now the majority; they have to do something popular like this even if it makes no earthly sense. And it does not. I know, says little Georgie, why don't we solve our problem of not having enough cookies by making more of them and giving them to people passing by? And little Nancy coos beside him, Oh, Georgie, you know I don't usually agree with you, but folks really do love cookies! Maybe we could even give them more than you wanted to! Then they''d really love us, and they'd get out into the world all full of cookies and milk and so warm and fuzzy that they'd want to spend spend spend and help us start rebuilding our economy overnight.

The national debt has gone from manageable to utterly insane during the Bush years. The national budget deficit has increased from zero when he took office (that's right: zero–remember that Clinton balanced the budget?) to numbers that are so incomprehensible that frankly I don't even understand how to grasp them. Bush has made the top few percent of Americans richer then their wildest dreams. He has made corporations, especially oil companies and those related to health insurance and pharmeceuticals, into Fortune 500 companies. He has closed tax loopholes and tightened bankruptcy laws while encouraging the kind of false and overly generous credit that has landed us in the mess we are in with the foreclosure crisis, and left people with no real way to escape the crushing weight of their debt. He will retire to his ranch in Texas and Cheney will retire to some cush consulting job with one of the companies he has helped to enrich, and neither of these men will ever want for anything...unlike so many millions in the land they have ravaged.

And they think that they can wave $600 at the problem and it will go away?

Sorry, W. And sorry, Nancy. It will take a whole heck of a lot more than $600 to make much difference even in debt payoff alone for many of us. Many of us, economists (actual ones) predict, will simply put the money into savings. And there is no guarantee that, even if we do spend the cash, it will change a single thing. After all, if the national average credit card debt is now nearly $10,000–as several sources have reported–is $600 really going to make such a gigantic difference?

It was politically expedient to support this stupid and probably less than worthless piece of legistation, designed to "stimulate the economy" by raining money down on the public (an act that seems justthisclose to an attempt to buy votes). I don't know whether Hillary Clinton and Barack Obama supported the measure, but I'm guessing that they did: they are pragmatic people and pragmatic people tend to do pragmatic things even when they know that these things are unlikely to yield any positive result.

So what, IMHO, would yield a positive result, however measured? How about we begin by ending this asinine war that is draining our economy at the rate of $100,000 a minute? How about we pour the $170 billion earmarked for the rebates to shoring up the national credit crisis? How about we bite than freaking bullet and go for a universal, single-payer health care plan, the likes of which is, thanks to HMO lobbyists, so controversial in this country (despite working well practically everywhere else) that only a fringe candidate like Dennis Kucinich could embrace it?

And while we're fixing things, let's legalize marriage equality too. It probably won't help the economy, but what the heck: it's overdue.


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it's your hair that i notice first
streaked with morning
it frames your face
you lying there eyes closed
soft breath not quite there
i follow its path as it bends the sheet
and i can touch you there
touch what i feel is you
in the spark of daylight
you'll rise
pull on the wrinkled shirt from last night
say something you think is beautiful
drink some coffee
from behind my paper
and drive away,
leaving a kiss on my lips
and a hole in my heart
where a fire ought to be

Favorite Films

  • The Wizard Of Oz
  • Amelie
  • The Princess Bride
  • Casablanca
  • Annie Hall
  • The Lord of the Rings
  • All That Jazz
  • Citizen Kane
  • Love Actually
  • Moulin Rouge
  • Big Fish
  • When Harry Met Sally
  • Almost Famous
  • Bull Durham
  • Notting Hill
  • Apocalypse Now (Redux)
  • Magnolia

All-Time Favorite TV Shows

  • Buffy the Vampire Slayer
  • Gilmore Girls
  • M*A*S*H
  • The West Wing
  • The X-Files
  • The Daily Show
  • Ally McBeal
  • Picket Fences
  • All In The Family
  • Seinfeld
  • The Mary Tyler Moore Show
  • Star Trek
  • Firefly
  • Wonderfalls
  • Northern Exposure
  • Get Smart
  • The Dick Van Dyke Show
  • Twin Peaks
  • The Larry Sanders Show
  • Monk
  • Felicity
  • St. Elsewhere

Current TV Shows I Enjoy (in no particular order)

  • Perception
  • Major Crimes
  • American Horror Story
  • Louie
  • Suits
  • The Newsroom
  • Falling Skies
  • Franklin and Bash
  • Veep
  • Scandal
  • Fairly Legal
  • Girls
  • Don't Trust the B---
  • Justified
  • Portlandia
  • Psych
  • The Middle
  • Person of Interest
  • Happy Endings
  • Hart of Dixie
  • Real Time with Bill Maher
  • Nikita
  • Raising Hope
  • Castle
  • Drop Dead Diva
  • Covert Affairs
  • Elementary
  • Rizzoli and Isles
  • Revolution
  • The Last Resort
  • Alphas
  • SNL
  • Revenge
  • Community
  • Suburgatory
  • New Girl
  • Once Upon a Time
  • Grimm
  • Nashville
  • Downton Abbey
  • Smash
  • Homeland
  • Fringe
  • Glee
  • Haven
  • Community
  • Warehouse 13
  • Modern Family
  • Vampire Diaries
  • The Daily Show
  • How I Met Your Mother
  • The Colbert Report
  • Parks and Recreation
  • Leverage
  • Rachel Maddow Show

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