10 billion dollars
I just read that because of the trouble in the financial world, this year bonuses on Wall Street are expected to be 10 billion dollars less than last year.
Will all those who just said, "Who cares?" please raise their hands.
Yeah, me too.
What with the subprime mortage mess and all the other goofy things the folks on Wall Street have done the past few years, I'm not really surprised that there's a little less bonus money to throw around, and you'd need to convince me that they deserve anything at all.
The people in New York are concerned though. That's an awful lot of money to take out of the economy. A guy who owns a Rolex store was quoted as saying that when rich people get more money, they spend it and that helps the economy.
Well, not exactly. When rich people get more money, they spend some of it. That's why they're rich. When regular, non-rich people get some money, they pretty much spend it all. Of course, they tend to waste their money on food, clothing and shelter, as opposed to Rolexes, BMW's and yachts.
I understand the concern. The folks on Wall Street don't know how to run a business (with losses in the past year $107 billion and counting), but they're great at wasting money and that's good for the economy.
I have a solution. Just send that ten billion dollars in bonus money here to the prairie. We can waste money, too.
No, I'm serious.
Just this weekend we wasted a ton of money, ordering a wood boiler so we can afford to heat our house this winter. Now we can waste some more money on a chain saw and wood splitter, which means I'm guessing we can waste even more money on a few bandages and liniment for my sore back. I'm hoping we can avoid spending money on tourniquets, eye patches, and burn ointment, but you know, we live in an uncertain world.
Last weekend we went to Fargo, or as we like to call it, the Paris of Eastern North Dakota, and we found plenty of places to waste our money. Heck, just to get there we had to fill the car with gas -- that alone took a chunk out of that 10 billion dollars. We had a good time deciding which things we would waste our money on if we had any.
After we got back home, I spent a few hours at my desk sorting through about a foot and a half of mail that's been piling up for a while and I found all sorts of money-wasting opportunities. I can waste money on health care, car insurance, and electrical bills. If I pick up a newspaper, it seems to me that our teachers could use a raise and that the taxpayers deserve a break. As a country we're spending a billion dollars each day buying oil from countries that don't like us, and personally, I'd like to waste some money on wind, solar, and other renewable energy so we don't need to do that anymore.
The folks on Wall Street have proven beyond a doubt that they can't be trusted to invest our money for us -- I don't see any reason to trust them with wasting money for us either.
Copyright 2008 Brent Olson