From Pine View Farm

S(t)imulation 4

Why the tax rebates are a bunch of hooey. From today’s local rag:

The U.S. economy depends a great deal on consumer spending. Repeat after me: Consumption accounts for 70 percent of the $14.08 trillion U.S. economy.


So along comes the president and Congress with an economic stimulus check for you. What the politicians, economists and Wall Street want you to do is to run to Best Buy (better yet, drive your Hummer there) and buy that plasma TV. Or hit the mall to buy those spring fashions at Macy’s.

By doing that, you’ll be priming the U.S. economy, helping it pull up from the slide that’s been occurring.

In other words, they don’t think you should use that check to pay down your debt, pay off a credit card, pay a little extra on your mortgage, or pay off your car loan.

Or worse, to start saving. Americans have become lousy savers. Would the country collapse if enough folks starting shoveling that government gift coming sometime in May into a money market, CD, or a retirement account? Even trickier, what if you were to take that $300, $600 or $1,200 that’s promised and had your employer shift that amount into your 401(k) account, boosting your savings for retirement.

Why we’d be acting in our own self-interest rather than for the greater good.

As was pointed out here, the Fed has already provided stimulus by reducing interest rates 1.25%. By the time the rebate checks arrive, the Fed’s stimulus will have succeeded or failed; the deed will have been done, the “rebates” will be irrelevant.

Me, I’m using mine, if I get one, to help defray my medical insurance premiums (yeah, I finally got medical insurance. $3000.00 deductible, almost $400 a month premium, made possible by the tremendous buying power of AARP–like I said, I’m old. Unless my son or I drive into a tree or get really really sick, we’ll never see a dime of coverage).

ASZ takes it to reductio ad absurdum.

Well, not really ad absurdum. In the Bushie world, nothing is absurd any more.



  1. Ray

    February 11, 2008 at 7:37 pm

    Frank great minds think alike i did my post before i read yours 400 a mo. with 3000 deductable kind of helps make my point.if you or frankie nedd just average medical care this year its comes out to the payments on 2 corvettes, and it will go uo every year.

  2. Opie

    February 12, 2008 at 4:59 pm

    I’m still trying to get my mind wrapped around the mindset of someone who complains about the likelihood of never having to collect a claim on their health insurance.

  3. Frank

    February 13, 2008 at 8:43 pm

    Let me clarify it for you.

    Commercially available health insurance sucks.

    At least, when you buy a life insurance policy, you know that, eventually, there will be a payoff. You may not benefit from the payoff, but someone you care about will.

    When you shop for health insurance on the open market, nothing that is available compares favorably to Medicaid, let alone Medicare

    The talking heads who say that “middle income people can easily afford private health insurance” are liars or fools, or, more likely, lying fools.

    Either they have employer-provided insurance or they make so much money that they don’t have to ask what things cost or both.

    There’s nothing easy about coming up with an extra $400.00 a month out of a middle-income income.

    So, after I go through that effort, by God, I want to see some return on my investment. I’d like to see it in the form people with employer-provided insurance see: almost all of my expenses paid by someone else.

    Well, sort of paid by someone else.

    Here’s the dirty little secret of employer provided health insurance.

    It’s not Insurance.

    I don’t know who your “insurance carrier” is, but I know who your employer is, and you do not have a “health insurance policy.”

    In the case of almost all “employer-provided” health insurance, the employers “self insure.”

    Your employer pays for your health care, less the amount of your co-pays.

    The insurance company serves as the employer’s agent, funnelling the money from your employer to your “healthcare providers” (God, I hate that term), after taking somewhere from 15 to 30% off the top for “administrative expenses” (say, like the $15,000,000.00 a year salary for their CEO.

    As Ray has pointed out, removing the insurance company’s “profits” (in Las Vegas, it was called “skimming”) from health costs would immediately result in a 20-30% reduction in health care costs.

    (Remember, Medicare does what it does with an overhead of 1%. But the people who are in charge Medicare don’t get $15,000,000.00 salaries. They just quietly do their jobs for not much money.)

  4. Opie

    February 14, 2008 at 9:33 pm

    “The insurance company serves as the employer’s agent, funnelling the money from your employer to your “healthcare providers” (God, I hate that term), after taking somewhere from 15 to 30% off the top for “administrative expenses””

    And you’re telling me that an employer just unquestioningly pays that 15 to 30% extra with no value to show for it?