There has been a conflict of two American virtues in this economic crisis. The one is saving and the other is spending. Your grandmother pushed saving. She said you would need the money on a rainy day. That rainy day is here, now what? Your government pushes spending in this inclement weather. It especially wants the banks to spend. But now the banks are acting like your grandmother and hording-which is a dirty trick to play on us with the $300 billion we gave them.
I am always puzzled at Christmastime because the government encourages whipping out the VISA card, so that Macy's will do well and therefore we all will do well. But then they scold us for over-using our credit, and tell us that's how we got into this mess, which makes me schizophrenic. We are blamed for scooping up McMansions with no money down and a McDonalds job, and betting that the money would be there. My grandmother didn't believe in betting on the future; she believed in preparing for the future.
I notice that Germany held out longer than others in granny's wisdom. While the United States, China, Japan, France, and Great Britain were throwing money at people months ago, Berlin held off on a stimulus package because they knew what the average German would do with his rebate check-trot over to the Bundesbank, like their grandmothers. Which is what they did.
Even back in January 2008, a million years ago (when we thought we were having a crisis but had no idea what a crisis really was), there was worry on the part of the government that we would take their rebate check and say, "Oh boy, I'm going to pay off my VISA bill."
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