‘Simple American mom’ offers economic stimulus ideas

Categorized as 02/09/09 Goshen News column

All those zeroes. It’s more than the finite mind can comprehend. Yes, I’m talking about the stimulus package that is being debated right now on the Hill.

In an effort to break it down into terms that I can understand, I dug out my calculator the other day and started running the numbers. When something went kaboom and it caught fire, I knew we were in deep weeds.

Whatever happened to a million bucks being a big deal, anyway? That’s chump change now, judging by the ease with which they’re throwing billions around like so much confetti. It’s breathtaking.

Now, I don’t have an Ivy League degree. I’m no pointy-headed economics professor who spends her days in an ivory tower, formulating business models for Fortune 500 companies. I’ve never won a Nobel Prize, peace or otherwise, although I think I deserve at least an honorable mention for that “peace” one. What I am is a simple American mom who helps to run a household on a budget, paying bills on time and feeding a regiment on a shoestring. This certainly doesn’t qualify me to advise those Harvard grads in the halls of power as to the best way to spend our money and create jobs.

For instance, I’m sure there’s a perfectly sensible reason that I as a civilian haven’t yet grasped for earmarking $140,000,000 of taxpayer money for climate data modeling. I’ve never even met a climate data modeler, and I certainly don’t know what one does. All I know is that in my world, to gather data on the climate, I simply look out the window or step outside. Then I model the family’s wardrobe after my scientific observations. If that makes me a bonafide CDM who would be eligible for part of that package, I’ll fill that form out posthaste. It would certainly stimulate our small economy over here.

Another sector they’re looking to throw money at is transportation, including mass transit. They could surely create some jobs by hiring a chauffeur for each mother. Lord knows we could all use one.

And concerning mass transit, how about giving all families of five or more a nice, big SUV? Believe me, something large is needed to haul a family of six around. Yugos and VWs just don’t cut it when you have a roiling thicket of 32 arms, legs, knees, and elbows riding behind the 16 that are sitting in the front. Now, that’s a mass in transit.

They’re also wanting to earmark some of our dollars for “water projects,” whatever that is. I can think of one “water project” that could keep people working. How about putting a pool in every backyard? First of all, someone has to come and dig the hole. So right there, you’ve employed an excavator. Then, the pool guys show up and do whatever it is they do. So now the XYZ Pool Company has some work. Once that’s all finished and the little porpoises are frolicking and splashing in the summer sun, you still need chemicals to keep the water clean. This guarantees more business for the chemical company and the pool company, their middleman.

You can see, then, how giving us each a pool would go a long way toward revitalizing at least three sectors of the economy. But what do I know? I’m just one little housewife.

“Scientific facilities” is another category that’s looking to get ten billion dollars. I don’t know what they would study over there in those “facilities,” but I have a few ideas for them. Instead of studying the migration patterns of the humpbacked whale or some such thing that has no impact on my life, why don’t they research stuff that will really make a difference? You know, like why some males think that grunting is an actual language? Or why a grown man is reduced to tears at the sight of a nail hole in a freshly painted wall? Never mind that it’s a Kinkade masterpiece hanging there now. He can’t see past the hole.

Or why don’t they research the best way to pick out the quickest line at the grocery store? This would be life-altering for a mom on the go. I have the lousiest luck with this. I troll the main aisle, looking for the shortest line with the fewest groceries. I dart in, and suddenly the whole operation grinds to a complete standstill. They do price checks, they run for items they forgot, or the register freezes up. It never fails. So trust me when I say, if you ever see me in line at the store, run – don’t walk – to the register at the other end. You’ll be at home in your jammies before I ever get out of the store.

I haven’t gotten a phone call yet from the Speaker of the House, asking my opinion on the stimulus package. Shoot, I’m still waiting for that printing press I ordered the other week so that I can print greenbacks right and left as part of my own bailout package. But if you see Nancy Pelosi or Mitch McConnell up on the Hill, tell them I’d like heated seats in that SUV. I’m sure they’ll oblige.

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