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Stimulating the economy can be hard work

TUESDAY, FEB. 10, 2009

I’ve been waking up at night worrying about how to stimulate the economy.

Actually, I’m mainly just waking up to heed nature’s call. (The harder I try to kick the post-dinner Diet Coke habit, the more I seem to drink.)

But as long as I’m up, I figure I may as well do something to relieve the economy, too.

And from what I’ve seen on TV, I’m convinced I’m as qualified as any so-called expert economist or the clowns in Congress.

That’s what scares me. Nobody has a clue how to jumpstart the sagging economy.

Oh, I know. President Barack Obama claims he has the answer.

He’s been out revisiting campaign stops this week, in fact, warning the public that the sky will fall unless we infuse the economy with his $820 billion stimulus plan.

I dunno. To me this is like stimulating a junkie with a massive infusion of heroin.

I hear it’s a terrific high right up until the junkie drops dead.

So I’m not surprised that half of Congress thinks the Obama stimulus plan is dangerous. The other half is all for it as long as some of that money gets earmarked for individual pet congressperson projects like water parks or birth control.

Even the porn industry wanted a piece of stimulus pork, although that struck me as a contradiction in terms.

I don’t blame politicians for being greedy. It’s like blaming the Osmonds for being toothy.

And I’ll be first to admit it: I’d probably want a chunk of that stimulus loot, too, if I sold out and joined Congress.

I’d use the money to help stimulate our suffering Spokane economy. (And, more importantly, further my popularity with you voters.)

Oh, the good deeds I would do, such as …

•$250,000 to construct a north Spokane Dick’s drive-in.

I ask you: Why should North Side residents have to drive all the way downtown to enjoy the inimitable taste of a Dick’s burger and fries?

This geographical discrimination must end!

•$500,000 for an Adopt-a-Marmot program.

The marmot is the unofficial mascot of Spokane – everybody knows that.

Yet due to overpopulation and building pressures, these little rascals are considered by some to be pests.

To relieve the marmot numbers, my program would give a $50 cash incentive to anyone willing to take a cute, cuddly marmot out of the wild and into the home.

Plus you’d get a free booklet of wonderful recipes for how best to grill, fry or poach your new furry friend.

(P.S. I hear they taste like chicken.)

•$640,000 to establish a 24-hour Excessive Merriment Hot Line.

The Super Bowl is long gone. Valentine’s Day is this weekend.

Yet there are homeowners around here who persist in burning their outdoor Christmas lights at night.

These yule fools must be stopped.

Once my hot line is up and running, citizens will earn $100 cash rewards for turning in an offender.

Call (800) BAH-HMBG.

Once the location of an excessive merrier has been confirmed, a special team of off-duty cops armed with wire cutters will take care of the rest.

Boy, stimulating the economy sure isn’t easy.

That’s why so many presidents fall back on that golden oldie.

You know, starting a war.

I realize Obama has been in office only a few weeks. But I’ll bet he’s already starting to fantasize about just how fine life would be if all he had to do was kick back and relax on a ranch in Texas.

Doug Clark is a columnist for The Spokesman-Review. He can be reached at (509) 459-5432 or by e-mail at dougc@spokesman.com. Find an archive of Doug Clark’s columns at spokesman.com/columnists.

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