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The US Economy "Stimulus", From a Working Gamer

Posted 02-18-2009 at 10:21 PM by NoeJeko
Updated 02-18-2009 at 10:39 PM by NoeJeko
It's rather well known among the community here about my current status in life. I'm 28 years old and work as a web developer for an open source software company. After hours I spend a significant amount of my time working on this community, the company behind it, and doing contracting work. Sometimes - just sometimes - I have the chance to play a game or two.

US President Obama unveiled his foreclosure plan today. A $75 billion plan designed to help homeowners stay in their homes by adjusting their mortgage rates. Let's not forget why we're in this pickle to begin with. Homeowners purchased houses they could not afford. Whether they did this knowing the consequences or whether they were lured by ARMs with low introductory rates is not the purpose of this blog. The fact remains that, either through the fault of the lender or borrower, people were loaned money they cannot afford to pay back. So my taxes go to keep these people in their homes.

Currently, I live in a 1 bedroom studio apartment (250 square feet/~28 mē) because I cannot afford to buy a house. I knew I could not afford to buy a house; they're expensive as hell in Silicon Valley. Because I knew this, I did not try and take out a loan I could not afford - I lowered my standard of living until I could afford to buy a house. Now, not only do I have to keep living in my shack, but I have to pay for the rest of these irresponsible buyers to stay in their houses.

The second provision of this foreclosure plan offers incentives for borrowers to pay their loans on time. In fact, each borrower may see up to $1,000 a year for the next 5 years if they can pay their mortgage on time.

So what about me (and the millions of other Americans) that have been paying our bills on time for years? We get penalized for paying our bills because we have to pay for these incentives with our tax money while these people are rewarded for doing what we do every day? To add insult to injury, the financial institutions stand to receive up to $1000 for each loan they modify to keep someone in their house. How about modifying my car loan a bit - because you know, I've been impacted by this recession too. I'm facing higher taxes, having my tax refunds withheld, and I don't want to spend any money because I'm not sure I'll still have a job next month. The only real loan I have is my car note because I've been responsible with my finances and lived within my means. How about some help for those of us that do what we're supposed to do, Mr. Obama?

How about some credit? The government's TARP program was supposed to get banks to lend money again. I've applied for 3 credit cards and 1 loan to try and help finance MMOG and Gavist. Denied, denied, denied, denied. Where is that $700 billion, JP Morgan Chase? Where is it, BofA? Show me the money, Wells Fargo? It sure as hell better not be in your executive bonus package. So with no available credit I get to continue personally financing a startup company in the worst economic times since the Great Depression.

Oh, and let's talk about tax refund delays for a moment. The California State Controller announced that they are delaying payment of all tax refunds to state citizens until the budget is balanced. Excuse me? That's money that you've taken out of my checks over and above that which I owe you. Furthermore, you're holding this money - without interest, for an indefinite amount of time. Now, if I fail to pay my taxes you try and send me to jail - but you can just keep my money - interest free - for as long as you want? I'm sorely tempted to write the State Controller and tell them that I'll start paying taxes again when they money they owe me is exhausted or they pay me back.

Oh, but the economic stimulus bill is supposed to help working people like me by giving me a tax break. Yup, I do see that provision - and the calculations that say it will come out to about $13 per pay period ($26/month). That's awesome, thank you for that Mr. Obama and the US Congress. That $26 isn't going to stimulate me to spend anything, in all honesty. I may decide to eat out once more every month.

So let's see how this really impacts me. Based upon the DoL's statistics for the US workforce, the government's "stimuli" will cost me:
  • Foreclosure plan: $514
  • Obama Stimulus: $5389
  • TARP: $4792
  • Detroit Bailout: $890
So a total of $11,585 of my money is going to bail out banks, keep irresponsible borrowers in their homes, save the US automobile industry, and save the US banking system. I get a measly $26/month back for it. Maybe I should start being irresponsible with my bills so I can get an incentive for buying a new car or the government will help me afford my unaffordable mortgage payment. Or maybe I should somehow have 14 kids with no job and no house. so I can get state welfare, food stamps, and set up a "donate to me" site.

Civilian US labor force statisics: http://www.bls.gov/cps/cpsaat1.pdf
Foreclosure plan details: Mortgage Help: Do you qualify? - Feb. 18, 2009
CA State Income Tax delay: State Controller announces delay for tax refunds

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  1. Lacerta's Avatar
    In a job where you are on salary (overtime exempt, to be specific) and your employer wants you to work 20 hours because it is now your job to decide the fate of another 3,000 workers today thanks to the state of the economy being so ruined that they cannot afford to keep them around any longer, one sometimes begins to wonder why the government is prioritizing the wrong things.

    From the past five months til the end of this month a total of around 60,000 workers will be laid off, with more foreseen in the near future. That averages to 10,000 a month, which unless you're a business that is destined to die out it should not be happening. Not to mention that coming up the company is going to force all of the employees (management excluded, naturally) to go on strike because one week of not having to pay these workers equates to an estimated $293 billion dollars the company saves. Seeing the 15th largest mobile service provider in the world have to go through these struggles makes me wonder how worse it is with other companies.

    Credit cards...
    ... it is a sad but true statement to say that the only reason I have one now is because of who I am and the position I can hold. On that same note, most companies would hire me right on the spot because of my credentials (provided any were actually hiring in this city); however when I consider what is happening to the economy and then what the company I have mentioned above is going through (that I don't even WORK for mind you, just being an accountant has sealed my fate to forever assist in advising companies in the best interest of our government) it really makes me want to just wait it out until my contract with one of the big four is set in stone. One secure job > hopping job to job.

    The tax issue is so stupid. Not enough space left to go into detail about the explanations and such behind that decision. It is probably better off that way.
    permalink
    Posted 02-19-2009 at 03:28 AM by Lacerta Lacerta is offline
  2. SilentSaber's Avatar
    Quote:
    JP Morgan Chase?
    Paid bonuses before BoA bought it up.
    permalink
    Posted 02-21-2009 at 02:15 AM by SilentSaber SilentSaber is offline
  3. i wil be in your guild plz
    im realy goodt so add me hory before other
    permalink
    Posted 02-23-2009 at 07:39 AM by khatib78 khatib78 is offline
  4. NoeJeko's Avatar
    Quote:
    i wil be in your guild plz
    im realy goodt so add me hory before other
    Huh? This isn't a guild recruitment blog ;D
    permalink
    Posted 02-23-2009 at 12:17 PM by NoeJeko NoeJeko is offline
 
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