Walking down Main Street, pushing a grocery cart loaded with clothes, toys, and appliances was Marshbaum. Fastened to the right front corner of the cart was an American flag tied onto a three-foot ruler.
“Patriot!” he was calling out. “Step aside for an American patriot!”
“You posing as a homeless veteran to get spare change?” I asked after almost being body-checked by the cart.
“I’m doing exactly what the government told me to do,” he replied.
“The government told you to load up a shopping cart and run pedestrians off the sidewalk?”
“No, Ink-Breath, I just spent my $600 rebate check. I’m stimulating the economy just like George Bush and everyone running for re-election this year wanted.”
With almost no opposition, Congress has agreed to the President’s massive rebate program. Violating almost every principle of conservative politics, except the one for self-preservation of their jobs, the Republicans willingly tossed around money in a naive belief it would slow down the recession.
The plan was to mint almost US$120 billion for the people, mostly to make them think they should be grateful to Big Government for its concern for the “Little Guy”, even ones making up to US$250,000 a year.
That US$600 individual rebate was also a lame disguise to make the people overlook the US$50 billion that was being distributed in the form of tax rebates for American business, a Republican pet project. Only at the last minute - and only because the Democrats demanded it and agreed not to fight the Republicans who refused to allow heating assistance for the impoverished and extra money for the unemployed - did the final proposal include US$300 for each of the 250,000 disabled veterans, and US$600 for each of 20 million senior citizens who didn’t qualify.
The US$168 billion “stimulus package”, had it not been spent on buying votes, could have given every uninsured American healthcare for at least a year. It could have significantly improved medical and psychiatric facilities for veterans. It could have helped rebuild New Orleans and other cities decaying from neglect. It could even have been the base for massive public works program to improve the nation’s infrastructure while giving jobs to the unemployed, a program similar to what Franklin Delano Roosevelt created to bring America out of its depression.
Nevertheless, no matter what the US$168 billion was used for, it was less than one-third what has been spent on the invasion and occupation of Iraq.
“Marshbaum,” I asked, “how does having all this drek http://www.thefreedictionary.com/DREK help the economy?”
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