The BTW and I did something unusual yesterday: Instead of going to the mall or somehow figuring out how to spend money we really didn't need to spend, we spent an absolutely delightful afternoon at home doing very little. Dinner was a very simple meal prepared on the grill --the red and cipolini onions brushed with olive oil and topped with Chardonnay salt (my inner chef was on duty) were TDF.
My one regret is that we didn't get to see the new Indiana Jones film. Any 65 year-old man who is still a bankable leading man in the movies like Harrison Ford absolutely deserves our support and Hollywood needs to know there's a market for that.
But we didn't drive, didn't burn any fuel, didn't buy something at a sale we didn't need, etc.
The U.S Treasury last Friday put out a press release that proudly proclaimed its latest success in getting stimulus checks out the door. The money quote:
"This week the Treasury Department sent out 6.211 million economic stimulus payments to American households totaling $4.927 billion. So far, Treasury has sent out 51.675 million total economic stimulus payments totaling $45.720 billion."
Question 1: Has anyone noticed any change in consumer behavior since the checks started coming?
Question 2: Isn't the better statistic the number of stimulus checks that have been deposited or cashed rather than just mailed out?
Question 3: Instead of saying "51.675 million" in the release, wouldn't it have been easier to understand if the Treasury said either 51.7 million or 51,675,000?
It's not anti-Bush sniping to ask where $15 b. of Iraq reconstruction money went. There is quite a double standard in Washington when it comes to Pentagon spending. I have a formerly homeless friend, who suffers from seizures and can't work. When he moved to a better apartment almost two years ago, his Food Stamps were cut off for a month, and he had to reapply. Two social workers checked him out before he was were reinstated. This is standard procedure for the Food Stamp program. However, if you dole out money and equipment for Uncle Sam in Baghdad's Green Zone, no one is checking out where it goes, even if it's munitions that may ultimately end up killing young Americans there.
Several of my friends have served in Baghdad trying to perform Treasury functions. They all came back discouraged by what they saw and over how Bush Administration policies prevented them from restoring order and operating effectively.
The proposal from American Airlines to charge $15 for the first checked piece of luggage is so bad that even The New York Times story was able to list the key problems. Among them:
It is also likely to make the fight for already-tight space on planes more fierce, as passengers try to stuff more carry-on luggage into overhead bins.
American officials said the company had not devised a way to collect a $15 fee at boarding from passengers whose bags are deemed too big to carry on and must be stowed.
I spent much of the past two days looking for a new car. By dinner time yesterday I told my Beautiful and Talented Wife (The BTW) that I was no longer in the market.
The reason? No matter what make of car I was looking at, each of the salespeople I spoke with were so demeaning and inept that I'd rather keep my current car rather than do business with them. So there will be no profits for the dealership, no finance charges paid to the financing arm, no commissions to the salesperson, and no sales tax collected by the Commonwealth of Virginia.