Stay positive

Our new president, Barack Obama, signed the $787 billion economic recovery package this week. We’ll see how this mix of tax cuts and spending compare to the Republican version written back in the B.O. (Before Obama) era. We sit here in breathless anticipation to see how the Democrats have written a $50 billion proposal to protect homeowners from foreclosure (and yet ensure that crooked banks lose none of their “profits”). It should only be a few minutes after that we’ll get to see emergency restructuring plans from/for floundering automakers.

How is it, when the Republicans were fisting through their corporate bank CEO bailouts, the Democrats were the voice of the people, and now that the Democrats are rescuing corporate interests, the Republicans are speaking for the voters?

[Don’t think. Try not to breathe. You gotta stay positive. Hope.]

It doesn’t take a rocket scientist to understand what that economic stimulus package is intended to do. (And yes, we always smile under our breath when we see “stimulus” and “package” right next to each other in a sentence. But this is a serious editorial, and such vulgarities have no place here.) The economic stimulus package—see, you smiled—is plainly designed to help the very rich and the very poor. It’s not hard to figure out: The very poor have to spend the money to survive—for example, on wasteful food and unconscionable medical bills—and the very rich will spend their money because, well, it’s like finding money blown into your backyard—even if you were honest enough to turn it in, you’d be the person you’d turn it in to. Win-win. The stimulus package’s diabolical shortcoming is, once again, the middle class gets hung out to dry.

According to the Associated Press, “Middle-income and wealthy taxpayers will be spared from income tax increase that would otherwise hit them. First-time home buyers, new car buyers, college students, poor families with several children and people who make their homes energy efficient also will get breaks.”

[Don’t think. Try not to breathe. You gotta stay positive. Hope.]

Um, didn’t Obama promise a middle-class tax break? Do the people who lost their homes and their life savings due to predatory lenders qualify as “first-time” home buyers? Are college students paying for school, or is this just a method of increasing their loans so they can be saddled with greater debt when they graduate? Do the people who have managed to keep their homes, despite losing their equity and down payments to the “bad economy,” have a spare anything to buy solar panels or efficient air conditioners or new cars? And, in Nevada, where we’ve placed extremely low priority on getting children educated and through college, just who is qualified to work all those “green” jobs?

[Don’t think. Try not to breathe. You gotta stay positive. Hope.]

We don’t know what this economic stimulus package is going to do to the economy. It appears the only thing we know is that our children will be paying for it as long as they are paying for the Iraq war. It’s hard to be hopeful when 10 percent of our friends are cooling their heels, waiting for the government to provide some real help, waiting to eat the last of the rice before making that interminable, surreal trip down to the food bank.

You gotta stay positive.