Archive for February 2nd, 2008

One-Way Trickle

Jane has posted a chart from the Congressional Budget Office (or, as Dubya would call it, “the bureaucracy”). It shows that the two most cost-effective and fast-acting strategies for stimulating the economy are the two that the Democrats bargained away in their ongoing quest for bipartisanship: Extending unemployment benefits, and temporarily increasing food stamp benefits.

Unfortunately, Americans being who they are, and politicians being who they are, any such measures would immediately be decried as giveaways to slackers and welfare queens at the expense of hard-working Americans. Because, as we all know, no-one is ever poor or unemployed through no fault of their own. But even if they were, it is beside the point. The goal is to stimulate the economy, which would benefit everybody. A $600 tax rebate is small consolation if you lose your job six months later. But that’s not how people think. When the stimulus money is divvied up, no-one’s thinking, “Will it work?” No, they’re keeping score and asking, “Where’s mine?”

The really sad irony about all this is that it’s a mirror image of the rationale for cutting taxes on the wealthy: That they’ll have more money to spend on, well, whatever they want, and that means more goods and services sold, and that will “trickle down” to more jobs and money for everybody (this has yet to actually work – the rich already have more money than they can spend, so they just end up socking it away somewhere). But when the non-partisan CBO suggests that money can trickle up from the poor and the unemployed, no-one wants to hear it. But really, if you’re talking about a fixed amount of money, those who are living hand-to-mouth are a lot more likely to put every cent of their benefit back into the economy – they have to.

But, of course, while the poor and unemployed might represent the most bang for the buck in terms of stimulus, they offer the least bang for the buck in terms of votes and campaign contributions, and that’s all that really matters to the selfish wankers who run our country. They would much rather give us a stimulus that doesn’t work but makes most people happy, than a stimulus that works but pisses off everyone with money.

4 comments February 2nd, 2008 at 03:18pm Posted by Eli

Entry Filed under: Corruption/Cronyism,Democrats,Economy,Politics,Republicans,Wankers

Eventful Sports Weekend

So, not only are the Giants playing in the Superbowl tomorrow (WHOOO!!!), but the Mets have (pending a physical) consummated their trade for Johan Santana, giving up four decent but not can’t-miss prospects for one of the five best pitchers in baseball. Assuming Santana doesn’t turn out to be one of those guys who can’t play in New York (and this is always a big assumption), this should be a huge boost for the Mets’ playoff and World Series chances.

As for the NFC Champion Giants, I have to say that I’m not optimistic at all. Not because of the obvious talent gap – they were almost able to overcome that in the regular-season finale – but because of the talking. Between Osi Umenyiora calling Matt Light a dirty player and Plaxico Burress saying that the Giants have better receivers than the Pats, and sort-of-guaranteeing a 23-17 victory, I have the uneasy feeling that the Giants are a little too full of themselves right now, and not focused enough on the business at hand.

Remember, before the Cowboys game, Antonio Pierce was talking about how it was “the All-Pros vs. the all-Joes” – they had been cheerfully reminding everyone that they’re the underdogs. Not any more. Now that they’ve made it to the Superbowl, they feel like they’re entitled to brag a little. Which they are; it’s just not a good idea.

Also, after Plax declared with uncanny precision that his ankle was “97%”, it sounds like it’s back to being gimpy again, and he has a swollen knee to go with it. He’s been playing through pain, and doing it very well, for the entire season, but it’s still disappointing – I would have loved to see him at full speed for the biggest game of the year. And if he can’t go at all, or if he’s not healthy enough to be a factor, that’s going to be devastating to the Giants offense.

I’m gonna say… Patriots 41, Giants 13. I think the Giants are going to have trouble getting into the endzone, and I think there will come a point where the Pats will go on a roll and the Giants will be too shell-shocked to stop them.

Damn, I sure hope I’m wrong. If Plax hadn’t been yapping, I’d give the Giants a chance, but unless they’re larger-than-life guys like Namath or Ali or Messier, most players who talk big end up playing small. Just ask Patrick Crayton, Anthony Smith, Jerramy Stevens, Matt Hasselbeck…

9 comments February 2nd, 2008 at 01:09pm Posted by Eli

Entry Filed under: Sports


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