Monday, March 23, 2009

My Share?

Yahoo! ran a feature on its home page over the weekend offering advice on the "Top Five Ways to Get Your Share of the Stimulus" by Amelia Gray.

I don't know Ms. Gray, and I certainly do not mean any disrespect toward her or Yahoo! specifically. But I take issue with the very premise of the story. By no means is this the first I've heard this phrase, "your share of the stimulus".

Just what exactly is my share? I can calculate my share of stock in my company based on the amount in my portfolio compared to the number of shares outstanding. If I were in one of those winning lottery pools I would know what my share was - 1/nth of the jackpot, where "n" is the number is people in my pool. When dining with friends, my share of the bill is based on the price of the food I consume.

So is not "my share" of the stimulus is equal to whatever additional financial burden I suffer as a result?

The tally of the bailouts/stimulus is, I believe, near $3 trillion. There are roughly 300 million people in the U.S. (though the majority do not pay taxes). For our purposes, let's assume every single citizen works, receives the same salary, and pays the same amount of taxes. The $3 trillion burden shared equally among all hypothetical taxpayers comes to $10,000 apiece.

If you take $10,000 out of my budget, guess what? I'm going to spend $10,000 less than I otherwise would have. That amounts to $45 billion taken from my state's economy.

So I figure "my share" for my family of five is $50,000 (again, in this hypothetical situation where each citizen shares equally in the cost). I'd like "my share" direct-deposited into my checking account. Better yet, why not save everyone the hassle and spare us the administrative costs at the same time? Let me keep my share in the first place. Let everyone keep their share.

The government aims to create jobs, get money into the hands of the people, and spark spending, investment, and the like. Newsflash! The money is already in the hands of the people. To paraphrase nationally syndicated radio talk show host and all-around good guy, Lars Larson, why does the government believe it is better able to spend our money than we are? They've proven they are capable of spending money in very large amounts and very quickly, but their own financial records prove they are definitely not "better" at it than we are.

As Milton Friedman, the late Nobel Prize and Presidential Medal of Freedom recipient, once explained to Phil Donahue,
"The great achievements of civilization have not come from government bureaus . . ."
Here is the full video. It's only 2.5 minutes long and, I think, VERY entertaining. Donahue is left speechless. This footage is from 1979. Except for the clothes, and Donahue's hair, you might think the clip was from last Friday.

Thanks to for the history lesson.

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