We Are a One-Party Nation

The economy is crumbling. Want to buy a lottery ticket?

Dear Chairman of the Incumbent Party:

Let me see if we can get this straight: Members of the Incumbent Party have actually passed a law that will give away $120 billion in cash at a time when the United States is running record deficits.

Where will the money come from? All of us in business have a fair understanding of where the money will come from. At the beginning of the calendar year, we reset our withholding tables and adjusted our payroll checks accordingly.

This extra amount of money, to be taken out of every single working person’s payroll check, required no act of Congress, not a single new employee in Washington, and no grandstanding television performances by the president or other members of the Incumbent Party.

Under the Economic Stimulus Act of 2008, special checks will be printed, put in special envelopes (and addressed correctly), checked against a list to make sure no duplicate checks or incomplete checks are involved, and then mailed out to each recipient. This ought to bollix up the Internal Revenue Service and the postal service for months on end. The checks won’t be in the mail until June or July at the earliest.

If the desire is truly to get more money in the hands of working people (to paraphrase several Incumbent Party members), the simplest and most expeditious approach would be to suspend federal tax withholding from payroll checks for the time necessary to produce the desired results. This could be accomplished overnight with no administrative cost and with complete and total accuracy.

Not since the Great Depression have Americans saved so little, and in fact we spent more in 2005 and 2006 than we earned. It’s estimated that in 2007, one in every 62 households suffered a mortgage foreclosure. At the state level, our governments glorify anti-thrift institutions by financing their operations through taxes on cigarettes and lotteries.

At the same time, our federal government is running historic deficits. The most recent estimate is that our operating deficit for fiscal year 2008 will exceed $410 billion. The Incumbent Party at the state and federal level continues to spend wildly beyond anybody’s means, and encourages anti-thrift activities in the extreme.

It appears that members of the Incumbent Party believe that the answer to all of our problems is for all of us to go shopping. That was this nation’s response to September 11, and that appears to be its response to economic difficulties brought on by credit failure and declining productivity.

As you give away free money to those most likely to vote, some party poopers have made negative comments. Steven Hess, lead analyst for financial services company Moody’s, has told all who would listen that within 10 years, the United States will be at risk of losing its AAA credit rating unless it takes radical action to curb soaring health care and Social Security spending.

Last year, David Walker, comptroller general of the United States, compared our current situation to the dying days of the Roman Empire. He warned us that our country was now standing on a “burning platform” of unsustainable policies.

Meanwhile, back at the official office of the Incumbent Party, the president and various “leaders” of the House and Senate were congratulating themselves on the unique bipartisanship they were all able to show in passing this marvelous stimulus package, which will no doubt bring financial happiness to the entire land—at least prior to November.

They’re giving away bridges in Brooklyn (unless they have fallen down), and all of our highways are paved in yellow bricks. Want to buy a lottery ticket?


Vance K. Opperman
(Burying My Gold in the Backyard)

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