Namo amitabha Buddhaya, y'all.
This here's a religious establishment. Act respectable.

Wednesday, November 26, 2008

Who Wants To Be A Hundred Thousandaire?

Playing in the background: Something from "Celtic Solstice" by Paul Horn
Meters swum today: 1600

Sorry for lack of blogitude lately. Impending holidays, end of month stuff at work, watching GM executives fly in their private jets to request a $15 billion bailout from Congress, stuff like that. Black Friday is the day after tomorrow and I'm not planning to buy a bloody thing. The merchants of the world seem to know this because somebody from Harry & David just called me on my cell phone, wanting me to buy lots of Tower of Treatses to send to my relatives. They even knew the names of said relatives. Please note that it's not Big Brother, its Big Brothers, and their names are Harry & David. They also seem to have my cell phone number, which is a closer guarded secret than President-Elect Obama's Blackberry PIN.

While all that was going on, though, I formulated my very own economic stimulus proposal. I'll be forwarding this to the powers that be later on, so send along your comments. Here's what I'm thinking. $700 billion there, $15 billion there - pretty soon it starts to look like real money. A while back, the Feds in their infinite wisdom sent everybody $600. Well, most people, if you were up to date on filing your taxes and you weren't a criminal or behind on your student loan payments and your last name wasn't Bin Laden and you didn't look like a Democrat. Did it help? Of course not. Why? Because it wasn't enough money.

Look, nobody I know is gonna blow $600 bucks unless they know there's more coming. Hand me $600 and I'll make a payment on the stupid oral surgery I have to have (more on that later). If you actually want me to buy consumer goods, I gotta be content that I can buy consumer goods, send them to all my friends, and not worry about paying off the bills after Christmas.

What we need to do here is send Americans off on the greatest Christmas shopping spree ever. I'm proposing we send every adult American in the country $100,000.00. (I'd say every single American, but you know if you send a teenager $100 grand he'll just blow it all on video games and a new Ferrari.) Seriously. 100 grand, tax free, spend it however you want. That'll stimulate the old economy, all right. Harry & David will be rolling in it. House prices will skyrocket. People will rush to buy new Saturns. GM will turn a massive profit for the first time in decades, and the executives will be spared the untold humiliation of having to fly commercial instead of taking their private jets. Oh, and fewer people will get laid off, too.

How much will all this cost? Not as much as you might think. There are about 303 million people in the U.S., according to the CIA's most recent estimate. About 225 million of those folks are over 18 (Jen's best guess based on the age breakdown provided.) 225 million x 100,000 equals a mere 22.5 trillion. Heck, that's less than half of the entire world's gross domestic product in 2007. Pocket change! Besides, what comes around goes around; we'll buy Chinese TVs, Japanese cars, British DVDs, European whatever-they-make-in-Europe and clothing assembled in Mexico. We'll take vacations in France and Italy, water ski in the Bahamas and hike the Australian outback. Call it a massive global redistribution of wealth. And as always, America should be the starting point. We already consume 25% of the planet's goods, why not just make it half for a little while?

And just to show what a patriotic American I am, Jen does hereby pledge that when she gets her hundred grand, she'll buy a house. In Ireland. Right after she pays off her dental surgery.

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