Hey. Not a lot going on today. Mel is in surgery today, having a malignant growth removed from his mouth. Mel is my brother's golden retriever, and his gentle nature and fondness for people made him a family favorite many years ago (taking Mel swimming and taking naps on the sofa with Mel are, personally, two of my favorite Mel activities). Anyway, I'm thinking Mel will be fine after this surgery, but we wish him best of luck, nonetheless. Here's a repost of a pic of Mel at the park from a couple of weeks ago.
What else? Not a lot. Here's a column from Michael Kinsley in Time Magazine about this possible recession and this new economic stimulus package. Kinsley's column sort of articulates some of my worries about the whole thing. As I've said before, I'm not economist, but it just seems crazy to me to try to solve an economic crisis that was triggered by irresponsible borrowing and spending (I'm mostly talking about the subprime mortgage schemes and other, similar poor lending and borrowing habits) by dumping more money on the public (free money, this time, at that) and asking them to spend it. As the column says, it feels kind of like rewarding an alcoholic for his hangover with another drink.
Republicans want to finance this cash handout by cutting government programs, and/or by borrowing from other countries (this second, more embarrassing option, the one which simply digs our country into deeper debt and fiscal irresponsibility, is not discussed nearly as proudly as the first). Republicans believe that only the American public and private businesses know how to properly invest money, so we should pump the money back into the hands of American consumers. Problem is, our current crisis developed because both the American consumer and American lending institutions got greedy and a little irresponsible. Seems like true conservatives should just want to let the market make its natural correction (trusting in the market to make its own adjustments- to reward wise, smart investing and to weed out some of the riskier or more foolish behavior), but our neocons in the White House and on Capitol Hill aren't willing to put the country through the sting of letting a natural market correction happen. Thus, the rush to hand out free money and the attempt to artificially reinvigorate the economy.
The column touches upon the more Democratic option of actually increasing government spending in order to get the economy on track (building bridges and infrastructure, for example, would employ more workers who would then bring home a paycheck and pour more money back into the economy with their spending), but it doesn't discuss this in great depth. Like I said, I'm not an economist, but if responsible government spending was feasible enough to help get us out of the Great Depression (e.g., most famously, the Works Projects Administration of the 1930's), then maybe we ought to at least show the idea some respect.
And in the end, don't get me wrong- I'm not going to be turning down any kind of government check that shows up in my mail. My question is, if I blow all of that money in a month or two and the economy still isn't turned around, do I get more free money to do some more stimulating? If so, this is looking like it's going to be one of the best recessions ever!!