Final Word

Posted March 5, 2009 in News

The President announced a near trillion-dollar stimulus package and I can’t help but think that somehow we’re all getting screwed.


I get the same feeling whenever my wife says she bought something “for the house” (meaning it’s something that will benefit both of us, so I’m not supposed to get upset.) 


Funny, but my life seemed to be going along just swimmingly without a $200 duvet cover. I didn’t even know what a duvet was until my wife showed it to me. That’s how much we needed a duvet.


And now we have this enormous spending program that’s supposed to bail out a bunch of struggling industries, none of which I, nor probably you, work in. 


A trillion dollars: That’s a ridiculous amount of money. When the villain in the James Bond movie threatens to blow up the world, even HE doesn’t have the stones to demand a trillion dollars. And now we’re just giving it away? All right, if you say so.


Seems like if the government really wanted to do us a solid, they’d cut us a check for the balance of our mortgages. Or come Tax Day this year, they’d say, “That’s all right. We’re all good. We took a look at your Visa bill and it’s obvious you need it more than we do. In fact, here are some stamps and a coupon for Sizzler.”


I’m no economist, but why exactly are we rewarding banks and credit companies that managed their money so irresponsibly? I thought the whole point of capitalism was to punish bad business.


Well if we don’t help them out, then our whole economic system could collapse. 


Really? Because it already seems like it’s in shambles. I’m about one more negative stock arrow away from getting in line for government cheese.


Seems like the only ones playing by the rules anymore are you and me, and we’re ultimately the saps who will have to bankroll this mother-of-all federal do-overs.


Take a former neighbor of mine . . . let’s call him Dave. Dave lived at the end of my street in a house that was twice the size of mine. He had a pool with a waterfall, two brand new SUVS and on weekends I’d see him out in the driveway power washing his ATVs.  


As it turns out, ol’ Dave hadn’t been paying his mortgage and his house was foreclosed on. Then another of my neighbors said, “Did you hear what happened to Dave? Man it’s such a tragedy.”


A tragedy? A TRAGEDY? Plane crashes are tragedies. Earthquakes, tornados, floods, heck even locusts, these are all things out of our control that qualify as tragedies. What Dave did was just plain stupid. 


Dave bought a McMansion he couldn’t afford and had a speedboat called “The Wet Dream.” Meanwhile I’ve been driving the same compact truck since Clinton was president that has six cracks in the windshield and an interior that smells like 13 years of farts. 


What happened to Dave wasn’t a tragedy. It was simple addition and subtraction. Any fifth-grader could’ve solved that math problem. Dave added things he couldn’t afford and the bank subtracted his house. 


And Dave’s no different than the Wall Street brokers, mortgage lenders and jet-setting CEOs who spent years living beyond their means without any fear of repercussion. What happened was unfortunate, but there was a time when you did something bad and then you paid a price for it. It was a little thing we called “checks and balances.”


Look, I get that the economy is horrendous right now. I, myself, used to be unemployed and was forced to spend several months at home watching daytime television. And you can’t understand the horror until you go through it. Back-to-back-to-back episodes of Judge Judy broken up only by commercials for HeadOn and that Snuggie blanket-shirt can really change a person.


At the end of all this, the rich are going to get richer, the fat cats are going to get even fatter and you and I are going to being paying double the fees to register the same old crappy cars. 


But I guess it’s all worth it if we can avoid a sequel to the Great Depression, which, as it turns out, wasn’t all that “great.”


Want to scribble a note to Jeff Girod? Email him at


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