You're getting $600 - what can you do with that? Not to be ungrateful or anything, but maybe it pays down a bill, but it doesn't pay down every bill every month. The short-term quick fix kinda stuff sounds good, and it may even feel good that first month when you get that check, and then you go out and you buy a pair of earrings.
--Michelle Obama on the stimulus package, quoted in The Washington Times
Getting yours truly out of blogging semiretirement has been taking increasingly powerful irritants lately; reading the above got me moving pretty quickly. I'd heard the price-of-arugula story, but I think this remark tops that. I about dropped my teeth when I read it--and they're the original set.
Before we proceed, let's take a deep breath, count to ten, and evaluate the statement. Mrs. Obama didn't say outright that she buys $600 earrings, and she didn't say that the amorphous "you" to whom she referred spent the full $600 on earrings. Still, that does seem to be what she intended to convey. I read somewhere that Obama is a regular gal who shops at Target. Based on her remark, I'd say her Tarzhay is a bit more upscale than my Tarzhay.
I could carry on about the out-of-touchness of people who not only buy $600 earrings, but seem to assume that everybody else does, too. As the rest of the blogosphere will likely have covered that angle to death by the time I post this, however, I might as well leave it to them. Instead, I'd like to offer a list of items that Jane, LaTonya, or Conchita Sixpack might do with $600 other than buy earrings. I'm basing this list on actual recent Minor Premise expenses, with which I, as Keeper of the Checkbook, am thoroughly acquainted. Thus, it's a genuine, real-life middle-class expense list reflecting the expenses of real-life, middle-class people who have more important places to put $600 than into fripperies. If anyone in the position to forward this list to Mrs. O should happen upon this blog, please feel free. She might want to keep it for future speechifying.CMinor's List of Things Other Than Earrings For Which Your $600 Stimulus Check Will Pay:
* Slightly over 3/4 of a mortgage payment.
* A couple of car payments, as long as you didn't sink a ridiculous amount of credit into a depreciable asset .
* A month's worth of utility bills (power, electric, water, phone, and internet) with a little left over. Realize that it's July, and the air conditioning is taking its toll. Around here, September to April, you could get 1 1/2 to 2 months of utility bills paid with $600.
* A month's worth of groceries for a family of 4 without teenagers.
* Cafeteria fees for 1/3 semester for college student.
* Books for semester for college student, probably with money left over unless the student is in a science, health or tech field.
* One summer class at local four-year or technical college, with money left over at the tech coll.
* Four weeks of summer camp for a kid or kids courtesy of a number of excellent organizations (including but not limited to the Boy Scouts, the Girl Scouts, the Y, the local college conservatory program, and the local sailing club.)
* Full membership for a couple with kids for eight months at the Y (or one year of individual membership for one adult or teen or four kids, with money left over.)
* Curriculum materials for a year for one homeschooled kid, if you're a do-it-yourselfer who shops around. Or 1/4 to 3/4 of a one-year curriculum package, depending on program and age level.
* A modest car repair.
* Four new tires, installed, with alignment and road hazard coverage. $25 left over.
* (Though we haven't used this ourselves, I figured it bore mentioning.) Fifteen weeks of afterschool care or seven to eight weeks of preschool day care for one child (based on local Y's rates.)
* Replacement for broken sofa.
Earrings, my eye.
Labels: momitude, U.S. Politics