Friday, March 27, 2009

Fixing the Economy

Thanks to my brother for sending me this. It's from Jim Caroon, who proposes the following wonderful solution to the Current Depression:
Dear Mr.President,

Patriotic retirement: There's about 40 million people
over 50 in the work force; pay them $1 million apiece
severance with stipulations:

1) They leave their jobs. Forty million job openings -
Unemployment fixed.

2) They buy NEW American cars. Forty million cars ordered -
Auto Industry fixed.

3) They either buy a house or pay off their mortgage -
Housing Crisis fixed.

Much cheaper than the trillions being ineffectively spent
on the financial industry

What a neat idea! We can fix the economy by paying 40 million people $1 million each. Not sure if you noticed, but that's $40 trillion total. President Obama's budget is less than ten percent of that, and the bailout package is only about 2.5% of that number. So, are you saying that Obama's plan is insufficient? I thought that President Obama's plan was too costly, that the deficit was too high. Which is it?

Now, as to the details, what constitutes a new American car? Toyota has plants in Alabama, Kentucky, Indiana, Texas and West Virginia. Honda has plants in Alabama and Indiana. Mitsubishi, Hyundai, Nissan and Subaru also have plants in the US. The Big Three automakers depend on Canadian manufacturers for major pieces of the cars they assemble in Michigan. Are their products to be considered American, or not? Remember, the jobs of tens of thousands of Americans hang on your answer.

Buy a house. You need to stipulate that the house not be mortgaged, that's how we got into this mess in the first place. To be safe, you should probably also make sure that the people buying the house can afford its operating costs and property taxes. I know this sounds like "controls," but who wants to create a problem when you're trying to solve one.

It may well be true that trillions are being spent ineffectively. After all, Secretary Geithner has fully bought into the concept of socializing losses (that means we pay) and privatizing gains (that means that the wealthy receive). I have an alternative proposal. Until the government funds are repaid, we socialize the gains as well. Yes, I said "nationalization". Yes, it also smacks of socialism. Nasty word, but tell me: how's capitalism working out for you these days? If you're not a rightwing journalist on a major media salary (and bonus, don't forget), you may be affected by the economic calamity created by the ideologues of the Far RIght. Boom and bust cycles are endemic to the philosophy of free enterprise; the current bust is directly related to the the freest, least regulated period of capitalism in modern times. It's all part of and linked to the millions that have been funnelled into the salaries, bonuses and retirement plans of the privileged few that control most of the assets of the United States of America. Those of us who take it on the chin? Collateral damage comes to mind. It's all part of the plan, in order to make an omelette, you need to break some eggs. Thank you, Josef Stalin, for reminding us of Adam Smith.

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