Stimulus 2009: Five Programs that Congress Forgot

February 1, 2009 by  
Filed under Economics

It’s hard to believe that within the confines of $819 billion of new spending, hundreds of pages of legislation, and 32 new government programs, Congress forgot to provide money for some very worthy causes.  Clearly this was mere oversight.  So Mr.ToughMoneyLove has decided to dedicate this entire post to refreshing the memories of our fearless leaders in Washington in hopes that it is not too late to include these:

1.  Prom dress and tux rental scholarships.  Stimulus 2009 provides the biggest increase in federal education spending in history.  We want our cash-strapped little princes and princesses to celebrate that bounty without the stress of having to scrimp and save for their prom outfits.  Also, a glorious prom experience will help take the sting out of the realization that for those high school grads looking for work, most of what little stimulus money is actually dedicated to job creation won’t start working until 2011.  But hey, enjoy the prom!  If you can’t work, go to college for six or seven years (graduation optional).  Congress is funding that too. 

2.  Grants for calculator retrofits and upgrades.  Mr. ToughMoneyLove is concerned that once the full effects of Stimulus 2009 ($1.17 trillion with interest), TARP 2008 and 2009, and a “spend like a drunk sailor” Congress kick in, our calculators won’t be able to keep up.  Some of our taxpayers will try to keep track of the exploding federal deficit so that they can calculate their respective shares.  Unfortunately, using outdated technology, they will find that their calculators cannot display all of the digits that will be necessary.   Yes, I know that they could use scientific notation instead but then we would need yet another new government program to explain what that is to most Americans.  So the smartest thing to do is just provide grants so that our installed base of calculators can be upgraded to display more 0’s.  On second thought, Congress will probably not like this suggestion.

3.  Subsidies for purchases of tents and camping equipment.  It seems that Stimulus 2009 is sending $2.25 billion in new money to our National Parks, which is equal to its entire existing annual budget and is three times what was originally requested in the plan.  It also seems that the chief lobbyist for the National Parks Association is the son of David Obey, the Chairman of the House Appropriations Committee.  That has to be mere coincidence, don’t you think?  Anyway, given that all of this new cash should make our National Parks even better places to hang out, I’m thinking that we should send our swelling ranks of homeless foreclosure “victims” there to live.  They will need tents and stuff so Congress so should address this need immediately.  We could then name the tent cities after Obey and his son as a tribute.

4.  Re-training programs for business educators.  Stimulus 2009 includes $1 billion for Amtrak.  Amtrak hasn’t made a profit in 40 years.  Apparently, making a profit is not really that important anymore.  Otherwise, why would the smart guys and gals in Congress keep sending Amtrak more money?  I suppose it’s for the same reason that Congress sent billions to GM and Chrysler.  I guess it’s time that we just re-vamp all of our business education programs to teach a “profit optional” business model.  That will take some serious – and expensive- brain washing for educators who actually understand how businesses are supposed to operate.

5.  Money to research and manufacture a vaccine for trichinosis.  Stimulus 2009 includes $335 million for prevention and treatment of sexually transmitted diseases.  Exactly what do we not know about how to prevent STD’s?  Are we going fund a corps of STD Marshals and send them into college dormitories and rent-by-the-hour motels?  I think the real disease of concern is trichinosis.   With all of the raw pork that Congress is shoving into this legislation, an epidemic is looming.  Speaking of epidemics, if there is a treatment for “spending hangover”, we need to fund that too.  Those of us who pay taxes will need it.

I hope that Congress will act quickly on funding these stimulus programs.  Will you help by spreading the word?

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7 Responses to “Stimulus 2009: Five Programs that Congress Forgot”
  1. Matt SF says:

    “We want our cash-strapped little princes and princesses to celebrate that bounty without the stress of having to scrimp and save for their prom outfits.”

    On a more positive (tough love) note, I saw that on a national level, 3 in 10 kids don’t graduate from high school anymore. Maybe the kids that actually graduate can get a really nice tux instead of a cheap $100 rental.

    Even better, the kids in urban Detroit, Cleveland, and Indianapolis have less than 35% graduation rates. The future certainly looks great for the UAW now. Lots of potential members (and membership fees) coming their way soon.

  2. TMN says:

    We’re sending money to Amtrack because a decent national rail system is a necessity if we ever want a hope of ending our oil addiction. Sure, it’s struggling now with outdated rail competing against airlines (which we’ve also been propping up since the 80s, remember), but modernized high-speed rail makes a lot of sense against an air industry that will be facing mounting fuel prices for the foreseeable future. Rail can be pretty easily retrofit to use electricity or other alternative fuels, while I very much doubt the same is true of the air transport industry unless bio-diesel gets a giant boost in public opinion in the next five years.

  3. kitty says:

    I do like spending on a train system. They have good train systems in Europe, and a lot of people actually take a train rather there rather than drive. Most of us who travel to Europe don’t even bother to rent a car there – why do it when trains are fast, go everywhere and are affordable. One reason hardly anybody uses Amtrack is because it is so expensive. Maybe if they invest in trains, the prices may come down?

    “We want our cash-strapped little princes and princesses to celebrate that bounty without the stress of having to scrimp and save for their prom outfits.”
    Loved it. I think this can actually stimulate the economy better than $500 tax credit: a lot of people will just use $500 to pay off a debt or put in a bank or under the mattress or even worse, buy some Chinese-made toy. But with prom dresses, the money will actually be spent. Just need to stipulate the dress isn’t going to be made in China.

    I have another idea. I think we need a TSFRP i.e. Troubled Stock and Funds Relief Program where the government will buy our stocks and mutual funds from us at the highest price for each stock within last year. On a second thought, I am not greedy. I’ll settle for December 2007 prices.

  4. Nicely done! Would you consider submitting this to my Comics and Cents Carnival? I think it would be a perfect fit.

  5. Great writing, TML! I have sent this URL to a few friends to read….hilarious!

  6. Matt: A lot of high school graduates don’t seem to know much more than those who don’t graduate.

    TMN, KITTY: If we as a nation decide that we are going o subsidize a rail system as a matter of public policy, then send it here. We are city of 1,000,000 people with no passenger rail traffic. Why should my tax dollars continue to subsidize a failed business model that provides no benefits to me? Either expand it or let it survive on its own.

    Writer’s Coin, Piggy, MasterPo – Thanks for the kind words.

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