August 1, 2009
That Billion Dollar Stimulus Package is CriminalBy Alicia Colon
The $787 billion stimulus package that President Obama signed in February has generated confusion in those who've read it and are now asking, Where's the stimulus, where are the jobs?"
I'd like to use the simple analogy that my son Evan suggested to demonstrate how egregiously devious that bill was.
Imagine that you owed your brother $100 but couldn't pay for it right away. Your mother then pays your brother back; then your brother says you still owe him $100.
Basically isn't that what the banks are doing with the bailout money they received from the taxpayers? Did they cancel bad debts or did they simply collect the money and cancel the credit accounts of good customers?
If the bailout money had actually freed up accounts, the economy would have boomed. That didn't happen. In fact, banks and credit card companies cancelled accounts of non delinquent customers or reduced credit limits to the outstanding balances thus destroying the FICO scores.
I am speaking from experience but I am hardly alone in that occurrence. A young family on my street had their American Express Costco account cancelled immediately after they paid the entire balance. They had never been late on their payments so why did that happen?
Another parishioner from my parish who admitted she voted for Obama is furious because the open credit on her Amex cards were eliminated and her credit score dropped so much she is having a hard time getting a mortgage to buy a house.
So who's getting the bailout money? It's certainly not the homeowners who are not in foreclosure and want to refinance. Is it any wonder that foreclosures are increasing? Homeowners are not making payments anymore so that they can have access to that taxpayer-funded money. Who can blame them?
One can certainly make the argument that this tough love approach to consumer spending is ultimately a good thing. People will learn to live within their means, right? That only makes sense if the working class taxpayers were not paying for the bailout of institutions and individuals who are not living within their means.
I'm hoping middle class Americans will wake up to the fact that when the Democrats claim that they will only be taxing the rich, they are lying. It's ultimately the solid citizenry of the working class that will bear the burden of subsidizing those who have never contributed to the growth of this nation.
One struggling young wife who lives in my neighborhood came to me fuming after hearing how the animal care and control agency here offers low cost shots and medical care to the pets of owners who are on welfare or receive food stamps. This woman loves her two cats and has to pay dearly to keep up with their care. She's not eligible for food stamps because her combined income is $50 over the limit. Most of this income goes towards housing and food.
I hear so often comments from young families wondering if it isn't better to stop working and have the government take over. They'll get section 8 housing, Medicaid, food stamps, vouchers and in some states, welfare recipients are getting cell phones and cars. Why should they work, they ask?
Good question and the answer I give them sounds very unconvincing because I come from a generation that still respected integrity and was less influenced by a self-centered pop culture.
Socialism is almost always promoted as an ideal by those who have never lived in dire poverty. They have a romantic idea of the poor that has no basis in reality. People may have been created equal but the success of their pursuit of happiness is only determined by their individual efforts.
I grew up in the slums of Spanish Harlem in the 1950's and watched the advent of socialist programs destroy families by making an absent father an eligibility requirement. Those like my mother (and like Michael Steele's mother in Maryland), who refused to enter that trap made it possible for us to leave the barrios and the ghettos. Those who fell for the demagoguery of political scam artists remain crippled there expecting cradle-to-grave government care.
That billion dollar bill was not designed to stimulate the economy. It was intended to destroy it and those who voted for it in Congress are either criminal conspirators or just plain dumb. In either case, they need to be voted out of office.