Day by Day Cartoon by Chris Muir

Wednesday, January 7, 2009

A stimulus package we can all live with

Latest I've read about Mr. Obama's wonderful stimulus package is that it's going to be gone at 'slowly' by Congress.

It's apparent to me that if there's to be a really effective stimulus package, it must be done at the lowest level of government - at the hands of the taxpayer. If we wait for the government to enact a new stimulus law, precious time will be lost, not to mention all the inefficiencies of government that will creep in to raise the cost of the whole thing.

So, here's my proposal. All of us taxpayers should simply file our tax statements with a note stating that the money that normally would go to the IRS to be absorbed into the black hole of Washington politics will instead be kept by each of us and spent or invested as we individually see fit. If your state is one of the five demanding $1,000,000,000 from the taxpayers as a "bailout', as my state of Wisconsin is, the same could be applied to your state income tax.

The result will be a immediate uptick in the economy as the stimulus funds reach each taxpayer instantly, with no middlemen and their inherent costs. Each dollar of stimulus thus spent will have the effect of two to ten dollars of government-doled money, since all of it will go to its' intended purpose.

Another benefit will be to starve the ravenous beast of big government. It's my feeling that government gets nastier when overfed, so a diet will do nothing but good.

A third benefit is that this form of stimulus does not either increase our national debt nor cause inflation, since it does not involve the Treasury either issuing bonds or printing money.

Besides, supposedly we've got a national epidemic of obesity. Let's help our government lead the way in slimming down, and therefore give all of us a good role model!

Saturday, January 3, 2009

Bailouts

First it was Bear Stearns. $30 billion. Then Freddie Mac and Fannie Mae. $200 billion. Then A.I.G. $150 billion. Then $25 billion in loans to the 'Big Three'.

That's just the start. Now we get into some real money.

Troubled Asset Relief Program - $700 billion (later increased to over $850 billion) for buying up distressed loans from Freddie Mac and Fannie Mae.

Citigroup. $247.5 billion


For a change, now we back off the big money - possibly because Mr. Bush is such a thrifty soul. Chrysler/G.M. $17.4 billion. This in direct opposition to the will of the people as expressed in Congress rejecting the bailout. Also, possibly illegally taking money from the TARP funds.

Keeping track? So far, we've given away $1,519.9 billion - over 1 1/2 trillion dollars.

Now come the governors of five states, including my home, Wisconsin. They only want another trillion dollars to make up for shortfalls caused by bad investments and state spending grossly outpacing tax collections.

If we figure the US population at present at 306 million, that give each of us, man, woman, and child, productive citizen and welfare taker, able bodied and handicapped, a current debt of around $8200. This is money given to huge corporations and government-backed funds as a reward for their corruption, malfeasance, and stupidity. Assuming a typical family of four, each family's share is almost $33,000. Of course, persons not paying taxes, such as those on welfare of any kind and many illegal immigrants, will never pay for any of this. I've heard that approximately 40% of the US population currently is in this group, but have no figures to back that up.

All of these bailouts seem to be so danged urgent that action must be taken instantly - without the Congresscritters being given any time to actually READ the bills, let alone time for their poor brains to UNDERSTAND what is being proposed. I recall something called the PATRIOT Act being similarly urgent, and being passed almost unanimously by 'legislators' who in most cases didn't even TRY to read the thousand or so pages of legalese.

Who writes these bills? The PATRIOT Act was authored by a Georgetown University Law Center professor, Viet Dinh - but who asked him to do it?

It's part of the American Dream to make it on your own - or fail on your own. It's an indication of how close we are to being a Soviet-style society that we cannot allow failure, especially if that failure would cause discomfort to some of our leaders and their handlers.