Money Part 4: Outta Sight, Outta Mind, Outta Pocket

There’s a lot of expressions about money. Money: it’s a gas. Money changes everything. It doesn’t grow on trees. One in the hand is worth two in the bush. What goes up must come down. The rich keep getting richer. You’ll be a hard luck woman, baby ’til you find your man. Ok, that last one was a KISS song.

The one I’m thinking of most these days is “You have to spend money to make money.” With the stimulus package kicking around and finding my only consolation is the repeated reinforcement of the fact that no one knows what the hell they are talking about with this, I wish the Senators would use a lifeline and phone a friend. Granted, I’ve not had the chance to hunker down with C-Span and enjoy the dulcet droning of elected…oh, god. Just get to the point. If you’re there to keep your job, then you’ve signed up for the wrong job, Mr. or Ms. Name Your Sentor.

What I have seen are a lot of people spewing facts and little theory. I like that there are embedded objectives in the stimulus package. What I don’t like is the throwing of money rather than creativity at the problem of an ailing economy. I supposed now we must resuscitate the patient before getting it back in shape to run the extreme marathon.

What I’m still not hearing about is people giving a good idea of what money is or prospects of giving further education about it. Here’s the Earned Income Credit amounts for 2008: $38,646 ($41,646 married filing jointly) with two or more qualifying children; $33,995 ($36,995 married filing jointly) with one qualifying child; or $12,880 ($15,880 married filing jointly) with no qualifying children. And for that you get $5,028 with two or more qualifying children; $3,043 with one qualifying child; and $457 with no qualifying children. I shut my mind to what this looks like in reality.

What is money? Besides the thing you don’t have enough of, that’s used to buy stuff, that’s what makes you have to get up off the couch and do the job that makes you miserable so you can buy stuff, which is better than not having a job because then you have to re-evaluate everything from choices in life, partner, where to get food, or what soap to use. Some say its energy. Some say its a direct representation of our individual worth. Others say it’s a figment of the mind because it doesn’t really exist.

There’s a notion kicking around with the stimulus package debates saying we should follow what happened in 1975 and give homeowners $15,000 (they received 2 grand back then). Remember how just the other day the theory of giving every American $10,000 was shot down because we don’t know what to do with it? I guess homeowners have proven they are responsible because they’ve bought homes. But I’m confused. If a big part of the problem is how there are so many people who took bad mortgages because they don’t know all the mumbo-jumbo and the lenders were hooking people with comes down to a crack rock in the form of basic shelter, shouldn’t we take a break on that? Maybe we need something in our financial world that works like the Food and Drug Administration. So people aren’t eating poisoned deals. So lenders aren’t putting out tainted loans.

But let’s not forget the folks who were gobbling up houses and property. The values went up and up until of course it would have to burst. Now there’s a lot of people with multiple properties that are losing lots of value. People trying to walk in the footsteps of Donald Trump, not looking at the fact that he’s gone bankrupt and has closed property. They replaced the word debt with the word leverage, which is really debt on steroids. In my mind, giving those people $15,000 is like a mini bank bailout. They’ll blow it on hookers and beer and we won’t be any closer to what we need. I don’t know how those industries are fairing right now.

And who is to say who gets to buy 19 properties and who doesn’t? It puts me in mind of how nature cleans house now and again. When a species gets too big, something comes along and wipes it out. Humans have staved off plague, AIDS, bird flu, whooping cough and a host of other diseases. Will money finally be what wipes up out? Some say its meaningless, some say it doesn’t exist, but others say it touches every aspect of our lives.

Alexander Hamilton said the national debt was the price we had to pay for freedom. What’s the price we must pay for freedom from the debt?