Stimulus 2009: An Exclusive Fantasy Interview

February 16, 2009 by  
Filed under Economics, Taxes

I enjoyed interviewing myself so much yesterday that I’ve decided to conduct another interview.  This Q&A session is with a member of Congress who recently voted for the 2009 Stimulus plan. It is an exclusive interview that you can’t find anywhere else.  (That’s because I made it up.)   But you should read it anyway because even if our Congress people are not saying these things, they’re thinking them.  And even if they are not even thinking about some of these things, they should be.

Here is the actual transcript of the fantasy interview:

Welcome Congressperson to Tough Money Love.  Have you ever visited this blog before?  No I haven’t.  I’m really not interested in hearing any hard truth unless it involves polls or campaign contributions.

The stimulus bill is quite lengthy and was thrown together at the last minute.  How long did it take you to read through the most expensive piece of legislation in U.S. history?  Can you believe this weather?  Next question.

Some taxpayers and people in the media have proposed different names for the stimulus plan you just voted for, such as “Spendulus”, “Porculus”, or “Spendiferous” plan.  Do you have a favorite?  Well, my favorite name is the one that is circulating around the halls of Congress:  the “More-Votes-For-Us” plan.

That’s an interesting name.  Why do you think that supporting the stimulus plan will result in more votes for you?  Are you kidding?  First, the tax credits in the plan will add to the 45.6 million tax filers who currently pay no income taxes at all.  Second, don’t forget about all of the new federal employees who will be hired as a result of this plan.  All of those folks will love us and need us.  God bless ’em.

The President and Democrat leaders have assured us that there are no earmarks in this plan. Yet, it has come to light that billions were added at the last minute that will likely be used to build a new rail system from Los Angeles to Las Vegas.  Do you think a dedicated rail line like that is a wise expenditure of taxpayer dollars?  Not really but our Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid is from Nevada and he thinks it’s a good idea.  So that makes it a good idea.  I’ve gotta do what Harry says because he can take away my corner office or worse, my best-looking interns.

Well, does Harry Reid think that the new train will create permanent new jobs in Nevada?  Sure he does.  When those LA people get off the train, a lot of them will lose money in the casinos and not be able to pay Amtrak prices to return.  Those people can then be hired as Amtrak mechanics of which thousands are needed to keep the trains only an hour behind schedule.

Most economists agree that some sort of stimulus is needed but many economists outside of government are concerned that this plan will place crushing burdens on future generations of taxpayers.  Does that bother you?  It should but actually, no.  Don’t forget that Congress sets its own salaries and has gold-plated pension and health care plans so personally I’ve got nothing to worry about.  And, as long as we keep increasing the number of voters who don’t pay income taxes, my re-election is assured.  What do they care about increases in marginal tax rates?

Speaking of income taxes, President Obama campaigned right up to election day on a promise to lower taxes for everyone making less than $250,000 yet this plan helps only those making less than $75,000.  What gives?  You’re asking the wrong guy.  I never made a crazy promise like that and if I did, I would have had my fingers crossed.

In a February 11 letter to Senator Gregg, the Congressional Budget Office predicted that beginning in 2014, the stimulus plan will cause real GDP to decline, accompanied by a net reduction in real incomes for millions of Americans.  Is that what you call “stimulus”?  Who cares what the CBO says.  Those guys work for ……..  wait ……. bad answer.  Moving on, I can’t be concerned about 2014.  That’s two election cycles from now.  We’ve got plenty of time to blame someone else for that de-stimulus, like George Bush or maybe global warming. 

President Obama recently visited Elkhart, Indiana to drum up support for the plan in an area where declines in the RV industry have caused massive unemployment.  Will this plan help those people?  It’s funny you should ask that.  This plan is all about supporting alternative energy and a green economy.  Unless someone figures out how to build a solar powered land yacht, those RV folks are still in trouble.  You know, I wondered why he held a town meeting in Elkhart.  Now Ft. Myers, that was a town meeting.  How ’bout that Henrietta?  It takes real skill and cunning to get a front row seat to a sold out event like that.  When it comes to being homeless, she’s a pro.

The plan you voted for generally provides new stimulus money through 2010.  What happens after that?  That’s the great thing about this plan.  It creates hundreds of new federal programs, oversight panels, review boards, you name it.  Have you ever tried to kill a federal program?  They’ve got more staying power than Jason Voorhees and Freddy Krueger combined.   Plus, even liberals acknowledge that the plan torpedoes the welfare reform that was the signature accomplishment of the Clinton administration, by creating incentives for states to add people to welfare rolls.  Thus, a lot of this new spending will continue long after 2010 which is another reason why we call it the more-votes-for-us plan.

Given that last answer, do you have any ideas for how to increase government revenues to fund this new spending, other than to raise taxes?  Actually I do.  With the number of government employees going up and the percentage of real taxpayers going down, we can assign a government employee to each taxpayer.  So my idea is to offer sponsorship opportunities to taxpayers where in exchange for a sliding scale annual fee, each government employee will wear a “sponsored by…” shirt or ball cap one day a week.  My sponsorship fee would be quite high of course but others would be more affordable, like Harry Reid’s Amtrak mechanics.  Say – do you think I could patent that idea?

Thank you Congressperson for sharing these important insights into our financial future.  Is there anything else you would like to say to concerned taxpayers out there before we end the interview?  Yes – just two more words – but dropping an F-bomb on your blog is probably not allowed, is it?

No – but thanks for asking first.

So readers – now that the interview is complete, what questions about the stimulus plan do you have for our imaginary Congressperson?  Or for me?

Photo credit:  Owen Byrne

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9 Responses to “Stimulus 2009: An Exclusive Fantasy Interview”
  1. TMN says:

    Two imaginary interviews in a row? Come on man… this is boring. You need some new material.

  2. TMN:

    Sorry – did not mean to bore you – but I hope you at least read the letter from the CBO to Senator Gregg and the commentary on the undoing of Clinton’s welfare reforms. I hope you’re not like so many other citizens who apparently have become numb to the concept of spending >$1 trillion of your money in a single piece of questionable legislation.

  3. Mr. TML – two interviews, especially imaginary is a bit much, but this one was funny. I enjoyed it regardless!

    “Yes – just two more words – but dropping an F-bomb on your blog is probably not allowed, is it?”

    I wonder how many politicians would love to end their interviews like that!


  4. TMN says:

    I’d love to see the national debt paid off as much as anybody, but I’d rather we do that when we’re spending 700 billion on a pointless and illegitimate war than when the economy is in need of a jump start.

  5. TMN: I’m not going to argue about the war except to agree that it needs to stop and soon.

    I also agree that we need to jump start the economy but Congress is exploiting that need by jamming a bunch of other non-stimulative spending into this bill while most folks aren’t paying attention.

  6. Robert says:

    Watching our government since this past summer has made me realise that none of the people in political office these days is there to work for the public. Their only goal is to spend the public’s money on programs designed to buy them their next re-election.

    The Federal budget has not been balanced (despite the Enron-esque accounting technicques of the Clinton administration) since 1957, and today we have a national debt that works out to over $35,000 for every man, woman and child currently alive in our country. Unfortunately, at some point we are going to have to raise taxes (on everyone, not just a small group of wealthy or ultra-wealthy people) and/or reduce spending (aka cut Medicare, Medicaid and other programs). Obviously our politicians will put this off until they can no longer borrow enough money to keep overspending, since they realise that telling us the truth isn’t likely to win them their precious re-elections.

  7. Alex says:

    That was great. By the end I was laughing, then I realized that under that thin veneer of sarcasm is a mountain of truth. Then I cried.

  8. Robert: Some in government try to work for us but at some point seem to cross over to the dark side of self-preservation and power accumulation.’

    Alex: I am glad you found it funny and, as I did, sadly funny.

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