The Lion has watched bemusedly the politicians in Washington twisting and turning as they struggle with the economy’s labyrinthine twistings and turnings.
The only certainty in the whole mess is that the politicians and their economist friends are walking around with dirty underwear as they watch the country’s finances plummet and their chance of keeping their jobs evaporate.
Their solution? Hand out money to citizens.
And where do they get the money? Given the economic, ethical, moral, and legal devastation that George Bush and his clever conservative clowns have wreaked on the United States, they’ll likely borrow it from China, or some other Asian country that actually understands money and national economies.
And what do they expect the citizens to do with the money? Why, spend it, of course. Run right out and buy some of those great Chinese toys. Everyone remembers those bargains.
The Lion would rudely remind the government that for years economists have expressed trepidation about the savings rate of Americans. It’s been a negative number for quite some time. Apparently that’s a bad sign. But at the first sign of trouble, what’s the word from Bush? Go out and shop. Spend everything you’ve got. “Bail out my rich friends,” he says. Shades of 9/11! That’s George’s answer to everything.
“The incentives in this package will lead to higher consumer spending and increased business investment this year,” Bush said at a White House news conference. “Our economy is structurally sound, but it is dealing with short-term disruptions in the housing market and the impact of higher energy prices.”
The Lion believes that no one can be quite sure what George means by ‘structurally sound’, given his pitiful relationship with the English language and his continuing failure to understand and apply critical thinking to his actions, not to mention that he chooses to live in a bubble of delusion and hallucination.
But anybody working for a living would likely dispute Bush’s take on what comprises an economically sound structure. They may not understand the details, but they know what they see in their paycheck and what they see their money buying, which in both cases amounts to less and less.
The Globe did talk to a real economist:
Since taxpayers won’t start getting checks until May, the rebates will be too late to have an impact on the current period of turmoil, said Argus Research economist Richard Yamarone.
“Anytime you wake up and there’s a check in your mailbox, that’s a good thing,” Yamarone said. “But households aren’t going to go on a sustained spending spree” because of it, he said.
Assuming that the sheeplike denizens of the United States take their little windfall to the local mall, then what? By the time they get the money, we will have been in recession for five or six months, according to the experts. If one assumes stupidity on the part of citizens, they’ll buy televisions and DVD players and a variety of non-essentials. And then the money will be gone. What then? Borrow more from Asia?
On the other hand, if we assume intelligent citizens looking at bad times, perhaps The Lion could be pardoned for thinking that the money will go to enrich the coffers of the already obscenely wealthy energy corporations, who have their dirty little fingers dug well into George Bush and Dick Cheney and the Congress, as well as into our pockets. Some of the money will go for food. Some will go for whatever necessities a family needs. And then it will be gone, and the economy will continue to totter, as it must, given the incompetence and mismanagement by Republicans.
A clue as to the thinking of Democrats and Republicans lies in this bit from the story in today’s Globe by Ross Kerber:
To make the deal, Democratic House leaders set aside demands for extra food stamps and unemployment benefits while Republicans agreed to extend rebates to those who don’t make enough to pay taxes – anyone who earned at least $3,000 last year will receive a check of at least $300.
Let’s not put any money in the hands of those who may need it the most, and who will spend it quickly because they need to live in an economy deliberately designed by Republican management to crush them. That’s the Republican way. Aided and abetted by the Democrats, of course.
The other half of the plan to rescue us from Republican incompetence includes giving tax breaks to business and tax incentives to encourage them to go out and spend, spend, spend.
But wait! Hark! In June the consumers will have spent the money. Businesses, having benefited from the splurge, will find the stream of Republican lucre has dried up. And we’ll all be back in the same boat, except, and here’s the devilish imp in the details, business will still have the tax breaks and incentives. But no customers.
The Lion has to pinch himself and remember that the country is in the gutter in good part because of unscrupulous businessmen and businesses, as well as because of the Republican attachment to garnering wealth for themselves and their friends by ripping it from the pockets of the citizenry. Wealthy people don’t pay taxes under Republican theories of government, nor does business.
One way to make that work, of course, is to slash government services, primarily by turning over regulation and enforcement to the very people government is supposed to regulate and stop from destroying the country with their greed for money and lust for power. Are you enjoying those Chinese toys? The contaminated food? The gas wells sprouting like mushrooms in the West? The untested beef you ate for lunch? The high property taxes you pay? The gouging at the gas pump? How about those tax breaks and incentives going to Exxon and friends, already obscenely fat with profits ripped from your paycheck? That’s the Republican way.
And when the little bonus the government’s going to hand out is gone, the country will have been plunged deeper into debt to the rest of the world, which, with the unerring eye for the jugular that has always characterized Yankee businessmen, will continue to buy up American assets.
Watching the politicians line up at the local laundromat to get their underwear cleaned doesn’t inspire The Lion to confidence in their so-called fix. The Lion is reminded of the bridge in Minneapolis and the Big Dig in Boston. And the Hindenberg. Let’s not leave out the Titanic. And any Tinkertoy set that happens to be lying around.