Austin Powers or Timothy Geithner

Dr. Evil was going to “hold the world ransom for 100 billion dollars.” In the Austin Powers movie, everyone laughed because it was such an astronomical amount of money that no one could possibly come up with. No one, that is, until Mr. Geithner and team determined that we need to help the economy by funding an 800+ billion dollar relief plan. This figure, of course, will grow to exceed one or two or even three trillion dollars by the time all the earmarks get added on.

I am a capitalist. When Henry Paulson and Ben Bernanke told us in Fall 2008 that unless we immediately approved what was to be known as, the Troubled Asset Relief Plan (“TARP”) the world economic markets would collapse I got scared. Who was I to argue with Mr. Paulson and even more so with Mr. Bernanke, who wrote his Ph.D. dissertation on the Great Depression. As it turns out, these two knew nothing. Half of the $700 billion TARP funds have essentially been wasted. No one knows how the money was spent and we can’t get an accounting of the funds. While hindsight is great, we should have allowed the markets to determine which companies survived and which ones failed.

I read four different articles today on what Mr. Geithner plans to do with his relief package. Not one of these articles articulately explained how the “new stimulus” program will work. I can guarantee it will increase government and exponentially increase bureaucracy. More social programs of unknown causes, and no economic stimulus.

On a bit of a different subject, in Montgomery County, Maryland an at large delegate, who shall remain nameless, wasn’t too upset that Montgomery County did not provide enough financial incentive for Hilton to move to Maryland, as they will be moving to Fairfax County, Virginia. The delegate stated “the county has virtually no unemployment….the states that give away the most in taxes (to corporations) are states none of us would live in.”

Last time I looked, Northern Virginia wasn’t such a bad place to live. And “virtually no unemployment” – give me a break. When was the last time the delegate looked in a vacant store or restaurant? Unemployment continues to expand – although optimists would say that 92% of people are still employed. This is having a dramatic negative effect on the area (note: see same store sales figures for just about all businesses).

Mr. Geithner, the public deserves an explanation of how 800+ billion dollars will be spent. Just as we were incredulous when Dr. Evil demanded 100 billion dollars, it is more unbelievable that my money will be given to programs of an unknown nature to “stimulate the economy”, yet it doesn’t seem that there are any controls on the program. And on the Maryland issue, when counties provide incentives to bring new business to its area, job creation, tax revenue, housing, etc. all improve.

Dr. Evil should have asked for 100 quattuordecillion dollars (a real figure by the way). That would have been funny. His request was way too small by today’s standards.


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