Remember that bailout money that is supposed to be helping stabilize and stimulate the economy and — by extension — help the rest of us in terms of personal finance? Well, something has certainly stabilized: Executive compensation. Unfortunately, Congress hasn’t done enough to limit executive compensation under the bailout money that the Treasury department has been meting out. On top of that, a great deal of the money is going to promote “liquidity” and hopefully get things moving that way.
It’s trickle down mentality at its finest: Give a bunch of money to the big guys (despite their horrible, greedy and economically devastating decisions), and hopefully some of it will trickle down to everyone else and stimulate the economy.
Here’s an idea: Stimulate individuals
Consider this: The money is going to be spent. No matter what, politicians are convinced that the only way to fix this mess is to throw lots and lots of money at the problem. (I disagree, but that is neither here nor there for this particular post.) But perhaps they should reconsider where all this money is being thrown to.
What if it was given to individuals? What if the government took the rest of the $350 billion from the $700 billion bailout and gave it to the people? They could give $50,000 to $100,000 tax free to households making less than $250,000 and remain under that $350 billion mark. They’re going to give that money to people who made bad decisions anyway, it might as well be regular folks who made bad decisions. Besides, if there was a massive stimulus package for individuals, many of us who made good decisions would be rewarded.
Congress could even stipulate that $10,000 of the money has to be spend on consumer goods. Now there’s something that would stimulate the economy. And do it quickly. And just imagine how many people would go out and buy a new car. Auto industry gets help to! Plus, such a large chunk of money would help individual personal finances as well:
- Debt reduction.
- Increased investment (would help the stock market).
- Make substantial payments on mortgages (reduce foreclosures).
If our politicians are bound and determined (and they are!) to spend hundreds of billions of dollars, maybe they should abandon trickle down in favor of trickle up.