Monday, February 16, 2009

"Bailout Bill"

The term "Bailout Bill" conjures up the political maneuvering happening on Capitol Hill as our nation's senators attempt to wrestle a nearly trillion dollar stimulus package into a neat package that the American public will support. However, in Manhattan's Times Square, the folks there have a different notion of what a Bailout Bill is. There, Bailout Bill is listening to the stories of down on their luck New Yorkers and dispensing a little stimulus of his own - anywhere from $50 to $5,000. According to the BBC, hundreds have waited in line for hours just to tell Bailout Bill their hard luck story and receive a bit of cash for sharing their money woes with him.

Bailout Bill to take his Bailout Booth on the road

According to the BBC, Bailout Bill will be spreading his wealth in cities other than the Big Apple. In the near future, those down on their luck Americans in the Boston, Philadelphia and Washington, D.C. areas should look for Bailout Bill and his Bailout Booth to make an appearance. Do you live too far away to pay Bailout Bill a visit in his Bailout Booth? Stop by and leave your hard luck story and perhaps you, too, can get some of his bailout cash.

Is Bailout Bill's generosity just unique website promotion? is a website that offers a video service that costs just under $10 per month per service. Tying a business model to YouTube-like videos designed to help land a job or a hot date, the website bills itself as "classified advertising for a new generation". Will site visitors come to the site only because they seek free money? Or will they flock to the site to upload a video of the car they are attempting to sell? Is catching the wave of a new advertising medium as yet largely untapped? Giving away loads of money sure would generate a fair amount of PR buzz about the site.

Fredericksburg, Virginia-area Church has done something similar to Bailout Bill and his Bailout Booth with reverse tithing
The Free-Lance Star reported last weekend that the pastor of Life Point Church in Spots ylvania, Virginia surprised his congregation by giving $12,000 back to church members. After the weekly collection, a second basket was passed. Church members each took a sealed envelope out of the collection basket and were directed to not give the money back to the church, but to bless someone else with the money and to tell the story of how they impacted another's life with the money. Envelopes could contain as little as $10 or as much as $1,000. To help the congregation with the storytelling aspect of the pastor's request, a blog was set up so that church members could easily share their gift giving stories. A glimpse at the blog postings that appear on the newly minted blog speak of pooling money to help out a single mom, helping a struggling college student, helping a poor child afford a coat and so much more.

Stimulus package and potential 7 new hot Careers

(Since this article was written, the stimulus bill has been passed--- 64% spending, 36% tax cuts.So, happily, only 36% of it is verifiably worthless.)

In opposing the pending stimulus package, Michael Steele declared recently that "government—federal, state or local—has never created one job." This will come as a jolt to the 15 percent of America's labor force that is currently employed by one or another of these three levels of government. (1)

Speaking of jobs, Steele recently became chairman of the Republican National Committee, which must make him feel like the captain of the Hindenburg. The kindest interpretation of Steele's seemingly off-the-wall remark is that he doubts the permanence of some of the jobs that the economic stimulus bill can be expected to create. Steele concedes that the government can create jobs "for a short term, yes. It's a construction job." (2)

In the first place, short-term jobs—in construction or anything else—are still jobs, and a temporary job is better than no job at all. As John Schoen notes at, 597,000 jobs were cut in November, another 577,000 in December, and 598,000 in January, "the most since the end of 1974, pushing the U.S. unemployment rate up to 7.6 percent." (3) Under the circumstances, many of these hapless workers would, no doubt, be more than willing to settle for a short-term job, for now.

Moreover, the work done in, for example, construction jobs—Steele brought them up, not me—may well pave the way, as it were, for future jobs. Rebuilding infrastructure or even erecting an office building facilitates the performance of work, which requires workers, who will be paid for their work, and will subsequently be able to spend money, helping to rejuvenate the economy. Perhaps it makes too much sense for some people.

But suppose, just for now, that the final stimulus bill consists mostly of tax cuts, with little in the way of spending (although, as the president has emphasized, spending is the key to any stimulus). Tax cuts, we know empirically, will not stimulate the economy. They are merely a sop to various benighted constituencies (and, of course, to big business). But if the final bill consists mainly of tax cuts, the jobs situation will not improve. In that case the 7 Hot Careers of the next few years may well be the following:

1. DRIFTER. With the economy in the dumpster, Drifters will be in demand by companies because they usually don't command high wages and if they do, they won't be around long anyway. Usually employed in jobs involving brooms.

2. SCREW-OFF. Like Drifters, Screw-offs do not usually command high wages (although there are exceptions). The truly dedicated Screw-off works harder at getting out of work than if he had simply done his job. Though most companies will be basically unproductive, they will still need someone to sweep and dust occasionally.

3. SNITCH. Needed to keep an eye on the Screw-offs so they will get something done at least sometimes. Though technically used to inform on co-workers who violate company policy, Snitches are also valued for keeping things interesting in the workplace by lying about co-workers, as when a waiter or waitress falsely accuses a colleague of stealing tips.

4. DITTOHEAD. Because management realizes that ignorant employees are the most malleable ones, Dittoheads are in great demand. They continuously spout right-wing drivel in the workplace, and frequently have a radio at their desk (at sufficient volume to make a captive audience of everyone working nearby) tuned to the likes of Rush Limbaugh, Sean Hannity, or Gordon Liddy—ideally, all three of them, consecutively. Sometimes the Dittohead will also tune in to intolerant, redneck preachers who know as much about Jesus as Paris Hilton knows about carburetors.

5. ILLEGAL ALIEN. Always in great demand, Illegal Aliens are expected to be an even hotter commodity as the economy continues to decline. Most of them work dirt cheap in menial jobs and don't much care how they are treated. All they care about is booze and drugs and selling them to others.

6. WEATHERPEOPLE. Most of them work for relatively low pay, and they are not required to have any particular insight into what the weather might do on any given day. Moreover, they get to go by the snazzy title of Meteorologist.

7. SEXPOT. All big businesses and many small ones like to employ red hot Sexpots. The only disadvantage to this job is that men need not apply. One of the attractive aspects of this position is its flexibility. For one thing, Sexpots are not rigidly relegated to any particular height or build; good looks and curves are the only prerequisites—and sometimes curves alone suffice. For another, they can get away with bloody murder. They are generally good for morale in the workplace, though they can be distracting at times—but that's just a risk the company will have to take.