monopoly money

monopoly_manOk. This is a multi-part rant on how money is being spent. Hence the reason I call it “monopoly money.” People banter about numbers that seem unreal <at least to me>. In addition … politicians throw numbers around in ways that is at it’s worst … simply lies … and at it’s best … partial truths. I do not like it. At all. But here you go …

Monopoly Money: International Version

So. On April 25th 2009 the IMF resources were increased from $250 billion to $750 billion. This new fund is called IMF 2.0 (as coined by Time magazine). I guess I should have been impressed with a $500 billion increase in one day.

But maybe I am just numbed by the numbers.

These numbers (billions of dollars) get bantered about like pennies in that jar you have on top of the refrigerator. Or maybe even better. Like monopoly money.

Maybe it is just me. But I think I have a good education (although I would imagine I am still not the sharpest knife in the drawer). And I have earned a higher than average salary in my lifetime. But I admit. I don’t get it. The numbers are so huge they just don’t seem real to me. I am the guy who still blinks twice when the heating bill hits $200 in the winter. Swallows painfully when I have to write the $300 car payment every month. Even that 55 dollar a month getting pulled out of my paycheck for health insurance is kind of painful (in a bamboo shoot under the fingernail sort of way). I see $750 billion and I wonder how the farmer in Congo or Zimbabwe (the 2 poorest countries in the world) feels about the trillion or so his country is gonna get. (I have to envision it takes up more than a suitcase of money you see in the movies…maybe 4 suitcases?).

I also find it is interesting to me that Ukraine is one of the largest beneficiaries of the IMF. It surprises me because I guess I just don’t think of a European country as needing money as much as, say, a third world country (I admit that is a naïve point of view). But I have to tell you when I read something like that it reeks of supporting democratic governments versus those who need it most. Oops. That’s rambling and off point.

This is about 750 billion dollars. I understand how the money is supposed to be used and how it is supposed to benefit “the people” and “the economy.” But the numbers are so big they are meaningless to me. (and I am a member of the 7th richest country club in the world). And that is a shame. Because I am willing to bet the IMF is doing a great job (although the trillions of dollars make me feel like they should be doing a triply great job). I just cannot wrap my arms around it.

It would probably benefit the IMF at some point to dumb it down a little for me and quit talking about 750 billion dollars.

Monopoly Money: Government version.

On August 25th 2009 the US released updated budget figures. As stated in the press…“America’s budget is on a dangerously unsustainable course.”

Okay. What facilitated that comment was the fact they estimate America’s cumulative ten year deficit will INCREASE BY ALMOST A TRILLION DOLLARS to a new total of $9.05 TRILLION DOLLARS (I bolded those numbers to emphasize them).

Okay again. You have to be shitting me. So a deficit of $7 trillion dollars (I am rounding here) was sustainable? Someone smarter than me needs to tell me how that works. I earn pretty good money. I have friends who don’t earn as much as I do (and somehow live within budget and quite comfortably) and I have friends who earn a lot more (and have a budgeted lifestyle). None of us earn a TRILLION dollars. All of us worry about money. No matter how much money you have you worry (trust me) about bills and the future and..well…you get it.

So how am I not supposed to worry when our country is 9.05 trillion dollars in debt?

Once again. Monopoly money. The numbers are numbing. And once again I admit, they become meaningless to me. Maybe because it is unbelievable to me. And that ain’t right. I need to care. And I need to know that the people managing this nifty little number care. And it would REALLY help me out if they stopped bludgeoning me with trillions of dollars and started telling me about making the right side of the balance sheet equal the left side of the balance sheet (see. I took accounting once). And I don’t want any “voodoo accounting” (that is what came after basic accounting in college).

Listen. When someone tells me we have a trillion dollar deficit, oops, I meant a 9 trillion dollar deficit, I know something is wrong. But the numbers are so overwhelming it is difficult to see a solution…beyond selling Park Place and getting some more money.

It would probably benefit the government if they would dumb it down for me and tell me how they are gonna balance a budget. (and don’t tell me a budget cannot be balanced cause you expect me to).

12/25/09 update:

On Christmas Eve the Senate voted to raise the ceiling on the government debt to $12.4 trillion, a massive increase of $290 BILLION over the current limit. If this isn’t proof that our government is simply playing Monopoly behind all those closed door meetings (and we thought with all those smart people they were playing Chess). The senate has Park Place, the House has Boardwalk and it seems every time you pass Go they are paying out money they don’t have. Maybe I am the only one…but this is crazy.

Monopoly Money: Stimulus version.

Ok. If this is monopoly money then let me use it for a moment and talk about “stimulus packages.”

The government keeps talking about giving money to the people to rejuvenate the economy. What they really want is to give people money so they can turn around and spend it.

Sneaky bastards.

And while I am sure people appreciate receiving a $750 check (or whatever it is) it just doesn’t seem like it makes a difference. Why don’t we do something that not only helps economy but also does something positive for the everyday people?

Here is the idea. Why doesn’t the government pay one month of everyone’s, except those in the highest tax bracket, living expenses? Mortgages, rents, gas, electricity, heck, how about including cable/internet if it only adds another billion to the price tag?

Why exclude the top tax bracket? Shit. If these people can’t manage their budget they don’t deserve getting more money.

Will there be people who abuse the program? Yes. Get over it. It will be a small percentage and we have to accept there will always be assholes out to “beat the man.”

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Written by Bruce