I’m not averse to taking a few hundred dollars from George W Bush, if for once in his life he’s feeling generous. Though, given the state of the economy right now, I certainly wouldn’t consider spending it.
The most amazing aspect of this show of political munificence is that anyone can possibly believe it is going to do the slightest bit of good. After all, an injection of $140 billion into an economy of $13 trillion works out at just 1.1% of GDP.
Given the dismal retail figures over the holiday period, it’s conceivable that if we all rushed out and spent patriotically “for the country”, it might lift retailers’ gloom and inspire some confidence, but surely the situation – given the state of the sub-prime mortgage market, huge trade deficit, and the colossal expense of keeping 150,000 troops in Iraq ad infinitum – is hardly going to right itself by us all blowing a few hundred dollars down our local Wal-Mart and McDonalds?
So why is the Congress falling over itself, like a load of fairy godmothers with brand new wands, to kiss George W’s feet and grant him his three wishes? It really doesn’t make much sense.
Of course, there’s nothing new about that. When was the last time you remember Congress achieving anything that contained even a modicum of savvy?
And who was responsible for this great idea anyway? It certainly wasn’t Georgy Porgy. He didn’t wake up in the middle of one night, dig Laura in the back and shout, “Eureka! I’ve just realized how to save the nation.”
The idea is just ridiculous enough to have festered in the gap between George’s ears, but presidents don’t work that way; they have “advisors”. To date, whoever thought up this one has remained anonymous. Perhaps it was Michael Brown, or Alberto Gonzales, or maybe Harriet Myers. It had to be someone close to the president, someone who was “doing a great job”.
The question arises as to whether this sum, injected back into the economy, is just a drop in the ocean? To be fair, it isn’t. It’s much more than a drop in the ocean, or even a cupful in a very large pool.
Imagine, if you will, a fish tank, five feet long, by four feet high, by eighteen inches deep. It will hold just over 200 gallons of water. Consider over time how the water becomes murky. In a vain attempt to clean the water, the amateur aquarist chucks in one two-gallon bucketful of clean water. Will it have any effect?
The water in the fishtank is the US economy. The bucket of clean water is the $140 billion. The amateur aquarist is George W Bush.
Perhaps he needs a new hobby.
Filed under: Great ideas