Sunday, November 30, 2008
Stimulus packages under the tree
Somehow economic disasters are always our fault and our responsibility to fix.
A few years ago Americans stopped saving and started spending and borrowing like, well, Americans are always urged to. Then something went wildly wrong with the housing and financial markets. We were told we were living beyond our means, something no one mentioned to the suckers at all those mortgage closings.
The solution? The government borrowed $700 billion, or more, from us taxpayers to give to the banks that had been giddily lending to foolish people who couldn't pay it back. This was real money, not the mortgage-backed paper those banks used to build the housing crisis of cards.
Our job? Same as after 9/11. To go shopping.
Yes, the idea this Christmas season is to spend more money we don't have. Saving is a good thing, but right now Uncle Santa is getting a lot of requests for corporate bailouts (never mind who's been naughty or nice) and Wall Street and retailers really need us.
On Black Friday (a name eerily reminiscent of the names given days of stock market crashes), we did our patriotic duty and went to the mall and stimulated the economy. No one was trampled at our little mall, but plenty of people were there with us, and this year it's hard to say we're all consumerist saps.
After all, part of our family's economic stimulus plan was to buy a chest freezer for homemade stocks, soups and tomato sauce. I know all that good food will last at least through the coming year.
I'm not so sure about our money.