Stimulus Package Translation

by Tim Couch

I’ve been listening to a lot of news lately. Most of it having to do with the newly passed stimulus package. Now that I’ve had a couple of days to absorb and ponder I think a translation of sorts is in order. I think it’s time that our elected and appointed officials in Washington know what we hear when they talk about this package. So, here is a verbatim translation of a report that I heard earlier today:

“This massive stimulus package yadda, yadda, yadda billion. As well as blah, blah, blah, blah hundred million. Included in the package will be nanner, nanner, nanner millions. Which does not necessarily yadda, yadda, yadda, yadda trillion dollars. Except for wootie, wootie, wootie tax cuts there will be padink, padink, padink hundred billion or more.”

Have you ever listened to an adult trying to explain something to a child when they don’t really understand it themselves, but don’t want the child to know they don’t know what they’re talking about? That’s our government and our media. They can’t explain this stimulus package. No one can. It’s like a stimulus deity. It’s beyond comprehension. But, we’re going to do it anyway because something has to be done, damnit! So, let’s throw money at it.

Wait a minute. If we can just print a whole bunch of new money and throw it at our problems then why do we have problems? If all these ~illions are at our disposal then why is our economy stalled? Because, the problem is not one of cash; it’s one of confidence. The banks have stopped lending not because they don’t have money to lend, but because they are not confident they will get the money back. People have stopped spending because they are not confident there will be more money coming in. Throwing money at a problem of confidence is like tickling a person who’s depressed. It might make them laugh but it’s not going to cure their depression.

I agree that something has to be done. And, I accept that it’s going to be expensive. But, so far all I hear is how much it’s going to cost. I haven’t heard anything yet about the return we can expect from our investment. Where are the details of the back-end of this stimulus plan? How is all this government spending going to restore confidence and get people spending and banks lending again? Is it just a matter of poor communication, or are our officials actually trying to put together a puzzle in the dark?

What would make you feel more confident about our economy?