An insightful post by Jim Hightower, which exactly mirrors my feelings about the “economic stimulus package” on its way to all of us:
In a celebrated display of bipartisanship, both parties joined hands last month to pass a whopper of a stimulus package. Cash, they crowed, would soon be flowing. “We’re sending a $600 check to you, and $300 to you, and $1,200 to couples, and…well, almost everyone will get money! It’s manna straight from heaven to get our big ol’ economy high-ballin’ down Prosperity Highway,” they exulted.
“Not that there’s anything wrong with our economy,” they quickly added. “No, no,” said the self-congratulatory stimulators. “Everything’s fine. Really fine. Really.” In his State of the Union peroration, Bush insisted, “Americans can be confident about our economic growth.” Treasury Secretary Henry Paulsen chimed in, “The U.S. economy is fundamentally strong.” Buckshot Cheney came out of his bunker to assert that America has a “solid platform” for continued economic growth. And Condi Rice assured world leaders that our economy is “resilient, its structure sound, and its long-term economic fundamentals are healthy.”
Hmmm. If the basics of the economy are in such great shape, why would we need all this cheerleading by the wizards in charge? You don’t have to be in Who’s Who to know what’s what. They can whoop it up ’til they’re hoarse, but for most Americans, the kitchen-table fundamentals are nothing to cheer about.
Let’s say your check arrives and you drive straight to Wal-Mart to pick out some new clothes, an electronic gizmo you’ve been wanting, and a couple of toys for the kids. Pay your $300 to $600 and– listen!– you can almost hear the economic machinery kicking into gear, stimulated by your purchase of products.
But wait– we make very little of that stuff in America anymore. Those machinery noises are coming from China, where Wal-Mart and most other retailers have their goods made. Thus, our leaders are shipping billions of dollars from our public treasury to you and me, asking us to spend it in an economy that’s based on further enriching Wal-Mart’s wealthiest investors and further stimulating China’s massive export economy. How sound is that? Wal-Mart and China profit, but we don’t.
It’s amazing to me that stuff like this stimulus package even gets off the drawing board. But I guess it gives Congresspeople (who aren’t spending their own money here) something to point at when they’re up for re-election. “Look!” they can say, “I was one of the boneheads who voted to grab billions of dollars from our debt-ridden Treasury so you could have a little extra spending money!”