Saturday, January 31, 2009

Chuck Fixes Economy, Film at 11

What really scares me about both Congress and the President Obamistration is not just what they will do but the reasoning they take to get there. Pass the Prozac because every time I hear one of our vaunted representatives speak I instinctively reach for my wallet with one hand and grab hold of something to help stabilize myself for the epileptic seizure that I am about to have. (Yes, I understand Prozac is not for epilepsy, that's why I take Lamictal and Keppra. I just figure the additional chaser could not hurt.)

With that in mind here are three things that could be done right now in hopes of "stimulating the economy" that would be vastly better than what I have heard so far. So, let's make me emperor for a day and here I go.

First, stop pouring money into companies and pour it into the people. They will in turn pour it into the economy. How could this be done? Let's try this. Americans are sitting on boatloads (used to be shiploads) of money in IRA's, 401k's and other retirement plans. Let's let people withdraw tax free an amount equal to the taxes they paid last year. But that's not fair to the poor you say. The "poor" did not really pay into the tax system anyway. We would be giving back to those who have. They would in turn pour that money back into the economy. Even if they did not spend it they would be depositing it in banks and other financial institutions who need more capital. Seems to me that would be a good idea since the first thing we did was to...give financial institutions more capital!

Two things might be seen as wrong with this part of the plan. The first would be those who whine that this would decrease the assets of the government. Hmmm. The government is in debt not because it takes in too little in taxes but because the geniuses in Congress spend too much. Let's ask two different former presidents what happens when taxes are lower and people have more money to spend: John F. Kennedy and Ronald Reagan both proved that lower taxes mean more revenue for the government. The key is stopping Congress' insatiable appetite for spending. The second objection would be that this would decrease Americans assets for retirement and create another potential future disaster. True, this is a risk we would take. My point is that given the more disastrous courses we are about to take on this future risk is much more palatable.

Economic stimulus: problem solved.

Now to save the huge companies that are in danger of failing. The reality is that government funds are going to be used for this. While that is a bad idea why don't we at least look for the right way to do it. Let's deal with the Big 3 automakers first. Ford, Chrysler and GM are in trouble for two reasons: people, for whatever reason, like Toyotas, Nissans and BMW's better and the American companies have the built in "legacy cost" of pension plans and health insurance for retired workers. The actual cost to make the vehicles is really the same. Nissan manufactures trucks in Smyrna, TN at the same basic cost that Detroit does. Right now we are bailing out the companies with the peoples money. My plan is to bail out the people instead. Let's let the government take over these lopsided pension plans and honor those obligations. It would be a decreasing obligation for the taxpayers as the retirees will not live forever. Meanwhile, without the legacy costs the Big 3 should be more competitive. This will, in effect, give these 3 a chance to "reboot". No more pie in the sky pension benefits. Set up a nice 401k and decent health and dental and let's roll! Roll out competitive cars that is. If we are going to "save" these companies let's do it to the benefit of the workers, with a decreasing cost to the public and in a way that forces the Big 3 to either get in the game or fold.

The financial mess: since I work in that industry I am limited in my ability to comment. I will stick with this: people need to go to jail. By the way, the "evil" Executives at these companies should be last in the perp line. The front belongs to those who love being in front of the cameras so much. That's right, let's fill jail cells with the Congressmen who were supposed to be overseeing Fannie and Freddie in the first place. Hint: if you do not know who the suspects are just turn on the news. The people bloviating the loudest about going after Wall Street are the same crowd that was asleep at the wheel in the first place.

Now to my third item which will unfortunately fall on deaf ears. I would implement a new tax system. This is very complicated so pay attention. Ten percent: if it is good enough for God it is good enough for the government. The whine and cheese crowd won't like this. I can hear the refrain, "But we would not have enough money to pay for our existing programs!" Exactly! Here's an idea: cut programs. Goodness! How evil I must be to suggest that bridges to nowhere, studying the sex habits of Japanese quail and (you can't make this stuff up) millions of dollars for sex education as part of the economic stimulus package should cut!

There, I have just done a better job of fixing the country than the foolhardy flock of failures in D.C. I hereby resign. I suggest I be replaced by Larry, Curly and Mo. Surely three stooges would be better than the 636 we have now. (House, Senate and President)

Now if I could just fix myself!