So, it turns out that writing a solid essay a week is quite a substantial task. Especially the week of Renn Fayre. That said, I wanted to post something as to stay in the habit. Come hell or high water, there will be an actual essay next week.
As you may or may not have heard, Americans who earned more than $3000 last year will be getting at least $300 as their share of the $150 billion (with a B) "stimulus package." The purpose of the bill is to rescue our economy from a recession by giving everyone who doesn't plan on dieing in the next few years a credit card. We spend, then pay it off over the next 30 odd years in the form of 1) higher taxes or 2) reduced services. Unless the government were to default on its debts, these are the only two options. As Michael Kinsely, one of my favorite political writers, says, "telling Americans they need to borrow and spend just a little bit more to get us past this recession—and then reform their ways—is like telling an alcoholic he needs one more drink before sobering up." In the coming months, I plan on writing more on this and related issues, so I will instead turn to the moral question at hand:
Despite my complete dislike of the bill, I expect to receive a check none-the-less. Should I burn it publicly, as Gandhi burned his racial I.D. card in South Africa, or plunge right in and go buy a shiny new iPod as the President and Congress beg me to?
At the present, I would still consider a public burning if I could find some others to join me (let me know). Otherwise, I'm planning to donate the money to a charity doing some work I think the government should be doing. Like taking care of Iraq and Afganistan veterans, who are killing themselves faster than the terrorists kill do. Or promoting a non-petroleum based economy. Or rebuilding New Orleans. Or providing health care to children without insurance. Or maintaining our nation's infrastructure. Or [fill in your pet project].
Call me old-fashioned, but I don't think the government should be spending our money on iPods.