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Superhero Stimulus

January 6, 2009
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In the interest of keeping this blog semi-new and interesting despite the fact I haven’t had a spare moment to write all day, I present the following essay, originally published a few months ago on the website of our sister publication, Ceramic Industry, for your reading pleasure:

Does anyone else find it just a little curious that the latest Batman movie has made $440 million dollars in less than a month in the midst of what some financial experts are calling a recession? Granted, Hollywood has always done well when the economy has been in shambles, but I have a feeling there could be another factor fueling The Dark Knight’s ridiculous success.

Ladies and gentlemen, I give you the Economic Stimulus Act of 2008.

Think about it: the $600 that yours truly received in the mail a few months ago probably wouldn’t cover the cost of a lot of big-ticket items, but it would definitely fund a ton of comparatively smaller purchases-say, movie theatre admissions. Also, it can hardly be said that America is the land of fiscal responsibility to begin with when you consider these facts: the average American household owes over $8,000 in credit card debt; 43% of American families spend more than they make annually; and American consumers collectively owe more than $2 trillion, a number that does not include mortgage debt.1

So, you’ve got a nation of spendthrifts who happen upon a $152 billion windfall comprised of tens of millions of relatively small checks. Is it really all that unreasonable to expect many of these people to spend “found” money on something other than principal mortgage reduction or flat-screen TVs or credit card payments? Something like a trip (or, in this case, trips) to the movies?

Even if I’m completely wrong and not a single cent of Economic Stimulus money wound up in Batman’s utility belt, one question remains: What are we doing, America? I mean, I’ve seen The Dark Knight. It’s not that great.
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