Editor's Column: Give us money, not promises

The federal government is setting a good example in deciding to send each of us a check for $600 so we can spend it and help forestall a recession until at least Nov. 3, 2008, which is the day after the election. This direct payment for our support is very rare. Let’s call it honest government, and hope that the idea spreads.

The trouble with federal spending is the average citizen never sees a dime of it. This causes consternation in the ranks. We get jealous when we see corporations get billions in tax cuts and the person ahead of us in the checkout line is buying rib steaks with his food stamp card, hanging on to his own money to buy meth ingredients for the family. How come everyone else gets the cash?

The idea of direct payment to citizens shouldn’t be a one-shot deal. Just give us the money. Take the defense budget, for example. It generally goes to aircraft carriers that the admirals worry will be sunk by speedboats, and advanced jets designed to overcome Soviet defenses, even though the Soviets are now gangsters working their way up to capitalists. Instead of all this waste, just send us the money.

Defense is costing us $1 trillion this year, so send us each a check for whatever 200 million adult people divided into 1 trillion dollars equals. We bet it’s a lot, and hope that this year’s WASL math test-takers can tell us exactly how much. Earmark the spending money for individual defense. It’ll boost our own gun manufacturers and run Al Quaeda out of the country when they see that everyone in the street is packing a Winchester or a Remington and has his eyes peeled for terrorists.

And while we’re at it, let’s scrap that WASL test, which is financially backed by federal No Child Left Behind dollars. Just send us the test money and we’ll buy a calculator at the Dollar Store.

The presidential candidates could get a lot more support if they’d quit promising vague ideas and instead promise to send us money directly. Don’t promise universal health care, just send us an annual check for $10,000 so we can buy our own. If we actually had money, we might be able to get a doctor’s appointment next week instead of in three months.

Send us checks for that childcare you’ve been promising and that preschool education. We’ll buy our own, and we’ll pay for our own college education too, if the government just sends us a check. If people were spending their own money, administrators would have to offer affordable education. Otherwise, we could choose to stay blissfully ignorant and spend the money on cruises.

All we need is the money to provide for our own needs, then the government can get out of the way. The only departments left standing will be Treasury, which will be in charge of printing all the checks, and of course the Post Office, to deliver the checks. Some of the money we’ll donate to political candidates to make sure they keep it coming.

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