Stimulus bill finally makes sense

My best shovel at the ready
My best shovel at the ready

I have to admit I’m a bit of a news junkie, and I have been following recent events in Washington with considerable interest and curiosity. All the talk about spending and stimulus and pork and earmarks and recession and recovery and left and right and depression, and yadda yadda yadda can get more than a little confusing. I was actually beginning to think that most of it was just a bunch of talk by the politicians and the analysts to try and justify their continued employment when so many people are losing their jobs.

I was particularly confused by the spending bill because it just didn’t make sense to me. How was a two million dollar ferry boat in San Juan, PR going to stimulate the economy? And, why does the Historic Jazz Society in Kansas City, MO need federal assistance? And, what is “Sustainable Las Vegas” and what’s it going to do with a million bucks? I just didn’t get it.

But then, I came across this: $178,000 to determine the effects of daylight savings time on the average fifty year old caucasion male living in central U.S. in the James River basin, on an eastern sloping hillside, who has a receding hairline, walks slightly bowlegged, and speaks with a southern drawl. As soon as I read that I became very stimulated. I thought, “Hey, I could be that guy.” I dug deeper and finally found the full requirements for qualifying for this assistance. Turned out it was a shovel-ready project so I raced out to the shed and retrieved my best shovel.

I ran back inside and finally found the phone number to call and apply for this very important study. Unfortunately, I forgot to set my clocks forward last night and I missed the deadline by one hour. Oh well, back to the drawing board I suppose. Maybe there’s some money in there to help late blooming baby boomers build boats by the bay.

Sincerely (not),

Tim Couch

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?