In thinking about the money coming our way, I am surprised not only by how much desire was awoken.....but by how much confidence and stability just the thought the rebate brings me.
I think of the $600 and I take a sigh of relieve. It's almost as if having unexpected money and the ability to spend that money will "fix" problems in my life and lead to a more fulfilling life. In listening to many of the remarks by politicians in regards to the stimulus package...it seems our government feels the same. The ability to spend money will "fix" our economic problems.
In realizing this about myself and our country, it's cause me to question if it is right that our country's health/stability (which is largely based on economic indicators) is based on how much money we spend? Consider the encouragement the nation received from Pres. Bush after 9/11:
“tell the traveling public: Get on board. Do your business around the country. Fly and enjoy America's great destination spots. Get down to Disney World in Florida. Take your families and enjoy life, the way we want it to be enjoyed.”
“I have great faith in the resiliency of the economy. And no question about it, this incident affected our economy, but the markets open tomorrow, people go back to work and we'll show the world.”
In a time of economic uncertainty, yes there was encouragement to mourn, yes there was encouragement to pray for those affected by the tragedy but there was also the encouragement to return to life as normal. To work, to earn money and to “enjoy life, the way we want it to be enjoyed.” I like how the author of servingbread.net put it. In the face of uncertainty, America was encouraged “to go shopping and spend their money to show the terrorists that they will not break us.”
How different would it be if our country’s health was measured based on how we treated others or how much we gave away rather than how much we spent on ourselves.
Even with this current economic stimulus package, the motivation is highly based on America’s desire to consume. In fact, as most of us are well aware, the government would like nothing less than for all of us to go out and spend the rebate on new toys. It’s just amazing that the solution to having a healthy nation/economy is to encourage people to spend more (even when most people have an average of $8,000 in credit card debt). This stimulus package doesn’t seem to address the real problem causing our economic stability. And would it really be a bad thing if the economy corrected itself and as a nation we learned to live within our means?
Furthermore, I’m quite skeptical if the rebate checks will really help in the long run considering that most people will spend this extra money at some big corporation. I’ve have particularly enjoyed Dave Berry’s comments regarding this very phenomenon:
"Q. What is an Economic Stimulus Payment?
A. It is money that the federal
government will send to taxpayers.
Q. Where will the government get this
A. From taxpayers.
Q. So the government is giving me back my own
A. Only a smidgen.
Q. What is the purpose of this payment?
A. The plan is that you will use the money to purchase a high-definition TV set,
thus stimulating the economy.
Q. But isn’t that stimulating the economy
A. Shut up. "
to be continued tomorrow...