The $2 Trillion Dollar Questions No One Is Asking

Here in the U.S., our economy’s outlook is in such straits (apparently) that a so-called Conservative president has been moved to release trillions in free money.

Here are the big-categories where all that money is going in order of amount from greatest to least:

  • Individuals (both in stimulus and unemployment benefits) – $560B
  • Large Corporations – $500B
  • Small Businesses – $377B
  • State and Local Gov’ts – $339B
  • Public Health – $153B

Here’s a nifty graphic from if you’re interested:


But, as many have pointed out, the plan for how this money is spent is mired in murky politics, when it should be transparent since, it’s taxpayer money after all.

Still though, even without diving deep into the details, something just doesn’t smell right. Here are a few of my own thoughts on how this money is being divided up.

Starting with Individuals.

$300B is going straight to individuals. But only if you’re under the income limits established ($75K p/year for individuals and $150K for married couples).

First off, if you live together, unmarried, and you each make less than $75K p/year, then you’re effectively gaming the system, which means married couples are getting screwed.

Secondly, what if you lost your job this year? That stimulus money would sure come in handy, but too bad; you made too much money LAST year. Oh, sure you’ll get more money in unemployment benefits each week, which brings me to my next point.

If you made less than $700 a week before the pandemic, why do you deserve, or even NEED, an additional $600 in unemployment benefits EACH WEEK now? For these people, the pandemic is an unexpected, and unearned boon. Why isn’t this benefit scaled based on prior weekly income rather than just given out to anyone willy nilly?

Finally, how long will this go on? I’m sure the idea is “just until you get back on your feet and get a job” but we all know there are many in our society who have no intention of ever trying to get a job again, or for that matter, can get a job paying the same as they will be getting in their unemployment checks.

Large Corporations

Have you priced out a new automobile in the last week? Or checked airline ticket prices? Guess what? The prices are about the same.

No one appears to be in a hurry to fire-sale their products or services yet, here we are, giving away billions in free aid. Now, I understand that these companies employ workers. I get that, I do.

But think this through: If you don’t lower prices now, no one is buying. Which means, when the economy DOES get back on its feet, you’re going to have skilled workers standing around doing nothing because there is already a full inventory of product. Automobile manufacturers aren’t going to build new cars and have them sit on the assembly line while they clear out the 2020 models. Or maybe they will. Just maybe the fire sale won’t come DURING the pandemic, but after. If that happens, I’m less concerned.

On the other hand, if businesses lower their prices now, people will spend that stimulu–perhaps unwisely, but at least the bulk of it won’t go straight into the hands of landords and credit card companies–and by the time the economy kick-starts, manufacturing will be right on track for a great holiday season.

Small Businesses

I have no issues with this money. I’ve seen far too many struggling small businesses already in my community. My only beef with this category is that this money is largely coming in the form of loans, not grants and in payroll deferrals, rather than forgiveness.

State and Local Governments – There is already a separate category for “Public Health”, which means this category gives governments what exactly? Where is the transparency accountability for all this free money? Will state and local governments NOT collect taxes? Will they be handing out free money also? Sounds unlikely. So, if government offices are shut down, what precisely do they need MORE money for? They’re still going to collect taxes; they will not have a huge revenue shortfall like the private sector. So we’re basically paying governments for doing almost nothing more than they were doing before Covid-19.

These are just a few questions I have, which I don’t hear anyone asking. Conservatives don’t want to monkey with the movement this close to an election, and Liberals are dancing in the streets and wondering how ELSE they can coaxe more money out of a president who is anything BUT fiscally conservative.

Anyway, that’s how I see things.






Silver Linings

Dauphin Island, AL
View from my mom’s back porch on Dauphin Island, AL

It’s the start of Spring Break. Normally, me and the boys would be driving down to Dauphin Island where one of my moms has a house. She’s not on the ocean side, but has a lovely spot on a canal of sorts. We spend the vast majority of our time on her pier catching trash fish. But occasionally we catch a red drum or a sheep’s head and that “what if” factor keeps us fishing well past the time when normies would have headed home and gone out for BBQ (unfortunately, the only BBQ place on the island burned down two years ago).

We will be staycationing this Spring Break, much as you are, no doubt. We had planned a trip to another, more populated island, but canceled it also. This #covid-19 is no respecter of plans.

My three children have been surprisingly adept at keeping themselves entertained. My wife has a lot to do with it, but even as we speak, they are down on the trampoline while mom and dad work.

Even my oldest, my usually slightly sullen 16-year old, has come out of his “mandatory cool” vibe and been more tolerable than usual. CareerMom and I theorize it has a lot to do with having to be apart from his friends where he “has” to be a certain person. Without them to live up to, we like him a lot more.

This #pandemic has not been kind to many for sure, but I can’t help but celebrate a few outcomes. We’ve come together as a family again. We’ve been so busy the last few years shuttling kids back and forth to sports that we’ve hardly spent any time just, together. I find us laughing more. We have “family movie night.” Everyone just seems to be getting along better and as a father, fewer things make me happier than hearing my children laughing, together.

My daughter, the creative one, and I, have built homemade bird feeders. I walk around the house and find fun little doodles like this:

We’re actually enjoying each other and having a good time. Barring the grocery store shortages and the deaths, I’m not hating this period.

Plus, I have this going for me:

Stay well everyone. Stay sane. Take long walks early in the morning.

Find your place.

Don’t Believe Everything That You Read (You get a parking violation and a maggot on your sleeve)

Years ago, I wrote an eBook titled, “How to Find a Job Online.” At the time, I was unemployed.

To be clear, I never said it was guaranteed to get you a job. My intent was simply to provide people with an understanding of how to use the internet to find jobs. Fifteen years later, and many computers and backups later, and I’ve lost the eBook. I’ve even tried using the ‘Wayback Internet Time Machine” but I fear it’s lost to the ages. It’s probably for the best.

When I wrote it, I was not a writer. I was an engineer. Trained by the Air Force on telecommunications systems, I had been plying my trade as a telecom engineer around the country as a contractor. I had also started doing some technical writing, then writing training manuals (for the things I was teaching others how to use).

Then the bust layed a big egg on mine, and a whole lot of other people’s lives. I was out of work for months. But, I had already been using online job boards, successfully, to find contract work, so I put all my efforts into helping others do the same–all while looking for a job myself.

Eventually, my wife convinced me to go back to college and pursue something other than engineering, which was not only out of favor at the moment in the job market, but it was not something I enjoyed terribly much.

I went back to college; got my B.S. in Communications, and my life has been better ever since (at least until Covid-19).

Like many people, I use LinkedIn. I use it, not because I like it or because I have some deep-seated need to brag to my peers. I use it because it’s a necessary evil. The interesting thing about LinkedIn is that it’s still just social media. Sure, the content is work-focused, but it’s still just a bunch of people pretending like their professional lives are perfect and that they’re all just normally-adjusted, rational beings. Which we all know is bunk.

Had LinkedIn existed back when I wrote my ebook, I would have, no doubt, changed my status to “Freelancer,” posted the eBook on Amazon and bragged all about it–along with a link to purchase it–right there on LinkedIn for all the world to see and admire.

And it would have been a big, fat lie. I have to keep reminding myself that, if I considered doing it, others HAVE done it and are doing it. I know the stories behind some people’s meteoric rise to fame. I know their personal lives. I know their work habits and peculiarities. I know that their professional lives are nowhere near as glamorous as they pretend. Particularly now, when we’re all scared to death of losing our jobs and what that might do to our finances and families. And that’s on top of existing fears around the pandemic and just coping with the new normal.

It’s easy to compare yourself to others online and think that you’ve come up short. To start questioning the choices you’ve made and to wonder “What if?”

Just remember, online is not reality. It’s what others want us to see. And that goes for the news as well.

Stay safe out there. Pray for yourself, your family, and our leaders. We will get through this.