Tom Foreman | Bio
As all those giant trucks full of money roll out in Washington to dump their loads on Wall Street, car makers, banks and others, one persistent question has been raised by voters: Why not just give us the money?
Deal those hundreds of billions of dollars across the land to every man, woman and child like a coast-to-coast poker game, and watch how fast we’ll double-down our spending. New TVs, cars, phones, lawnmowers, coffee makers, computers, bicycles for our younger children, college educations for our older ones. Every sector of the economy will touched because, heck, we’re everywhere.
Economists have pretty good reasons why that would be a bad idea. Or at least their reasons sound good to me as I’m a non-economist. A one-time burst of cash like that, they say, would lead to some spending, but to a lot more debt reduction and saving. Good things in their own right, but that first one is what we need now. Spending. Money, they insist, is like your daughter’s goldfish: If it’s not moving, that’s bad.
On the other hand, the stimulus money is intended to seed the growth of jobs which, presumably, will produce sustained income. And sustained income leads to people having the confidence to go into sustained spending, creating more jobs, more spending, more jobs, Bob’s-your-uncle, the recession is over.
Still, there is another simple political reason why you never stood a chance of getting this money directly; indeed, why the whole concept was never up for serious debate. You’re not asking for the money. Oh sure, you’re telling your hairstylist, the gang at work, and maybe that guy in the plaid shirt who bags your groceries, that you’d like someone to bail you out. But you are not asking in the formal language of the modern Versailles that is D.C. The voters, en masse, don’t have a lobbyist.
“Lobbyists?” you say in shock and alarm. “I thought they were all being driven out of the Capitol!?” Of course they are, and Nancy Pelosi really looked good in that outfit she wore to the President’s speech.
No, the Center for Responsive Politics (CRP) says while we are all hurting, the lobbying business is going gangbusters. Last year the CRP says more than 15,000 lobbyists spent $3.2 billion trying to officially get Washington’s attention because when the government is giving away money, as the ‘Royal Court of Gimme’ long ago learned, you don’t just sit around waiting for your name to be called.
But hold on a second – we do have lobbyists! We do have someone who is representing us! Problem is they are called Congress. And they’re already being lobbied by someone else.
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