Don’t Send Me Another Check

I don’t want another check from the federal government.

If the federal authorities wish to stimulate the economy and are willing to push the government further into debt, do it in a way that will help somebody and make a difference the grand scheme of things. Sending me—and most of my friends in the middle class—another $600 will do little good. If you send it to me I will pay a bill or two, take my family out to eat, and donate to a food bank for people who really need it. This expensive strategy did not work in the Spring and it will not work this Fall.

So if the government has money to give away, don’t send it to me; and don’t send it to those fat cats on Wall Street either. Rumor has it the managers of this trillion dollar bailout are giving enough to the banks up there so all their buddies can get a big bonus for Christmas. “We want to keep our best employees,” is the rationale—makes me want to curse. Like most ordinary Americans I am incensed that New York bankers whose sorry judgment plunged us into this financial mess are going to be rewarded through the bailout.

This is the problem of putting Wall Street bankers (Henry Paulson and his boys) in charge of bailing out other bankers. They see the world through floor-to-ceiling corner windows on the 85th floor of a Manhattan skyscraper. I wonder if the committee to rescue the economy would take a different approach if there were voting representatives from Iowa farms, Michigan factories, Kentucky mines, Arizona hospitals, and Missouri schools—working people who see the world from the ground up, from the inside out.

Here is the preference of one such person: use the money to rebuild and retool America. Paying people—architects, engineers, builders, truckers—to build bridges, roads, sewers, airports, canals, levees, railroads, parks, and schools would put serious money in the hands of those who need to heat homes, buy cars, pay mortgages, visit relatives, and support the grassroots organizations that feed the hungry, clothe the naked, shelter the homeless, and treat the sick.

For almost thirty years we have tried the trickle-down approach—through the years of Reagan, Bush, Clinton and Bush. Through federal tax policy we have allowed those at the top to get filthy rich hoping some of that prosperity will slip down to the rest of us. It has not worked. Yes, those at the top accumulated a lot of money, but the middle and lower classes fell further behind. Costs of goods went up; wages went down. The disparity between the rich and the poor is a serious economic and moral issue; always and everywhere it is the chief de-stabilizing factor in the human community.

It is time for the bubble-up approach. Sending a check to everyone did not work last spring. Try something else; invest in the industries that build America, that serve the common good, that disperse the wealth to the working class. Such public works programs will work now at they did seventy years ago during the Great Depression and they will leave our nation more secure, more beautiful, more livable, and more able to sustain the economic justice that is a hallmark of truly great civilizations.

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1 comment so far

  1. spiritualway on

    Yes, the things you mentioned are the infrastructure stuff of our country; one of the basic reasons we elect people at all levels of government in this country; to maintain that infrastructure. We have let that go in the last twenty-five years and just repairing much of it that needs repairing would be a great “bubble-up” (like that term) boost to our local, state and national economies!


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