Fiscal stimulus. That's a phrase we've been hearing a lot of lately, in these (hurrghn) credit-crunch times. I know I'm just a dumb graduate of Physics with Space Science and Technology, and that my grasp of numbers and economics might not be as keen as all those highly-paid geniuses with Doctorates in economic theory who have managed to systematically destroy worldwide economic stability through unchecked greed and unregulated accumulation of insane risks, but I can't help thinking that all this money being thrown by worldwide governments at a provenly-failed banking system like it's wedding confetti is actually going to the wrong people.
The idea of ploughing money back into the banks is "recapitalisation": i.e. if the banks have enough liquidity (i.e. actual money) they can go about their business of lending it to us poor consumers again. The problem with this theory is that the banks have suddenly come to the belated realisation that "oh, risk might be bad!" and are just gobbling all this money up given to them by the government into a black hole to shore up their position and aren't lending of it out, you know, as they're meant to do in order to keep the whole economy moving. Never mind the fact that the government practically owns half of the UK banking system right now, but won't force the banks to lend the money they're giving them (because that would be "government interference"!).
So we find ourselves where we are today: the government has given the banks untold billions of pounds, which themselves have been magicked out of nowhere (since none of the banks have any money) and that we will all have to pay for over the next generation via our taxes, so that the banks can then lend us this money AGAIN, in the hopes that we can spend ourselves out of recession.
Clearly, there are a few problems with this theory. Firstly, the banks aren't doing what they're told. This is a pretty serious problem, but this isn't really the crux of the matter. It's that the public isn't quite as stupid as the government believes we are. You see, we've twigged that the real problem with the government's plan is that it means that Joe and Jane Public end up PAYING TWICE to dig us out of a recession whose fault can be firmly placed in the hands of the people in the government and the banking system.
The problem is that the government's solution to get the economy moving again would have you borrow money from the banks, which has been given to the banks by the government. And we all know that the government's money is OUR MONEY, since all their money comes from us poor proles. So why should we borrow money from the banks, if the money we're borrowing is OUR FUCKING MONEY? Why should we pay twice for our own money? So it almost doesn't matter that the banks aren't lending at the moment, because no-one in their right mind would want to borrow their own money for the privilege of paying it back again with interest (i.e. pay it back first to the bank and then to the government).
If you're going to use our money to buy our way out of the problem, at least do it in a way that doesn't doubly fuck over the people who never caused the problem in the first place. The hundreds of billion pounds that the government has given so generously to the banks (only for them to sit on their collective arses with it) could have put a couple of thousand pounds into the pockets of every single man, woman and child in the UK. If the government had given all that money directly back to the people instead of the assholes who got us into this mess in the first place, the way I see it is that we'd be a whole lot better off.
If you gave the money directly to the people, that money would go one of two places. Either into the banking system (either paying off debts or into bank accounts - either way it would recapitalise the banking system) or be spent on the High Street, giving companies much-needed revenue and STILL going into the banks. Instead, Brown and Darling have handed over billions of pounds borrowed against future tax revenues and we're still in the same mess we were a year ago, because the banks have suddenly gone all shy and risk-adverse and won't put any of this money back out into the wider economy. But hey, lord forbid that the government should actually do anything for THE PEOPLE. Corporations always seem to come first - if it were up to me, I would have let the banks go to the wall. If you don't run a sustainable business model, you don't deserve to be in business - let alone have the government bail you out with taxpayers money that you're then going to use to fuck over the people who paid to keep you in business in the first place. (Of course, some smartarsed economist or banker would say "but it doesn't work like that" - yeah, try telling me that to my face, where I can give you the kick in the balls you deserve.)
So it's no wonder that the IMF are predicting that the UK will be hit hardest by this current downturn, and likewise no wonder that Sterling is taking a hammering in the global currency markets. As I've always maintained, we're governed by imbeciles. And we have to wait another fucking year before we can even vote the bastards out.