Monday, February 16, 2009

Stimulus Package: Diamonds, Timebombs and IED's*

*Improvised exploitive device (No, that's right exploitive not explosive)

With any major economic or social programs, laws, and budgets passed by Congress and signed into law, they are wrought with all manner of unforeseen consequences and hidden agendas. And we shouldn't expect the Stimulus Package to be any different.

What they may be, only time will tell. Notables that jump to mind at this posting is FDR's social security for our seniors. If you worked you will have a retirement was the promise – that is if your Social Security taxes were paid while you worked. Look what the old SS has become. No Baby Boomer that has a good retirement under almost any other retirement system should expect to collect social security if you are not already or about to.

Eventually, leaving Social Security to those who have nothing else may be the only way to keep it going. However, given our current economic situation, many who had thought they had a good retirement in which Social Security was considered supplemental may now be depending on Social Security alone.

I'm not sure if SS is a diamond or a timebomb. For those that have nothing else to fall back, it certainly is a diamond but paying for it is the every present timebomb.

Another example of a diamond buried in the legislature is the college tuition in the GI Bill, another FDR innovation. When the bill was proposed, the presidents of Harvard and Yale spoke against it. They didn't want all those unruly servicemen descending onto their campuses raining all kinds of hell that servicemen are infamous for doing. However, the opposite prove the norm. The ex-GI's had raised all the hell they wanted to raise in the service. They proved to be a moderating and leveling agents in the class and on campus when compared to the typically riotous kids coming from home and whose biggest experience at that time was leaving home.

When the original GI Bill was set up, the home loan portion was thought to be the part that would have the biggest affect on the economy and the lives of ex-GI's, but it was the college tuition that proved to have the biggest impact. One look at the list of Congressmen and judges who used their GI benefits to attend college confirms this.

While any legislation has its unforeseen consequences, it's those of a hidden agendas and IED's that are the worse. Special lobbyists are able to insert their clients' interest into seemedly innocuous passages the power of which only becomes know after the bill has been passed, signed, and implemented. When you have an evenly matched Congress that has trouble passing anything, this becomes double disastrous.

And so now we must wait and see what crops up.
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