Zombie stimulus checks
Thanks to the Trump administration’s business-like efficiency, I already received my stimulus check courtesy of the CARES Act stimulus bill. I’m grateful, but not overjoyed; along with millions upon millions of other Americans, dead people are getting them… and somehow managing to cash them.
One of the key principles of the flourishing field of Happiness Economics is that all happiness is relative. Not only do we appreciate more what we work for, but we apprise our circumstances not in absolute terms, but relative to others. Gore Vidal’s acerbic wit captured the essence of this, “It is not enough to succeed. Others must fail.”
If we were more rational beings, perhaps Margaret Thatcher’s admonition would hold sway. When schooling a dumb liberal back-bencher she said, “All levels of income are better off than they were in 1979…. The honorable member is saying that he would rather that the poor were poorer, provided the rich were less rich. … What a policy!” Watch it here, the Iron Lady is brilliant.
Despite Thatcher’s reason, humans tend toward irrationality; indeed, even if their circumstances improve they’ll be envious relative to others who are outperforming. This is why divisive progressives dwell in the politics of envy. If one lives in a $500,000 house in a neighborhood adorned with million dollar mansions, you can’t get no satisfaction. But if you live in a $300,000 house in a neighborhood with more modest $200,000 houses you’re the cat’s meow.
AsJonathan Rauch points out in “Why Prosperity Has Increased but Happiness Has Not” we are “walking, talking status meters, constantly judging our worth and social standing by comparing ourselves with others.” And if we are not getting ahead relative to dead people, it’s an unfavorable judgement. In fact, it’s downright infuriating they are keeping their ill-gotten booty. Maybe they are the Undead, enjoying a fruitful relationship with Zombie Savings and Loan.
Of course, the rescue-cum-stimulus checks are not so much about underpinning happiness as they are about ensuring essentials such as food and rent money. But a lot of the recipients are still employed; for them, the extra money is welcome, if not crucial. At his briefing on Friday, 17 April, President Trump praised the program, noting that snafus are minimal – less than 1%. I guess that’s good, considering how quickly the money was distributed; but, so far, that represents about 80,000 zombies who won’t return their stipend. Imagine if the Dems, renowned for harvesting votes, were able to illicitly elicit the same number of zombie votes -- in a close election, the swing state zombie vote could be determinative.
Overall, I’m relieved my struggling family, friends and neighbors will receive some fabricated “stimulus.” I desperately hope President Trump’s roaring economy enthusiastically rebounds sooner than later; I’m also hoping that rampant inflation doesn’t rear its ugly head as a result of all the zombie money sloshing around in the netherworld. In the meantime, I shan’t be an ingrate; instead, I will investigate ways to help others even more, perhaps by contributing a portion of my check to a food bank. Now that’s what the pursuit of real, long-lasting happiness -- as enshrined in our poetic national treasures -- is all about: not progressive self-aggrandizement but civic responsibility and helping others.
Photo credit: PxHere