President Barack Obama has signed the stimulus package, and once again, many of us self-appointed political pundits are theorizing on why it’s right or wrong for our government to bail out corporate America. After all, the argument goes, greed, irresponsibility and plain mismanagement of money led to the financial demise of most of the failing companies. When regular people apply those same bad methods when running a household or small business, the only thing we can expect is phone calls from bill collectors or worse — foreclosure and bankruptcy. Where’s our bailout, callers ask me every day. If they gave a million dollars to every American, we could stimulate the economy ourselves. I don’t know about that. Everyone I know who’s ever gotten a huge lump sum of money, including me, has blown it. Look at all the sad stories about lottery winners who not only went through the money they won, but in the end were more broke than they were before they’d won. Plus they’d ruined relationships with spouses, family members, friends and their pastors for not making good on that big check to the building fund. No, I don’t think that most people I know would wisely spend a million dollars. How about you? I don’t have the answers to the stimulus package; that’s why I voted for someone I trusted to come up with a way to get this economy back on track. I’ve never been elected to anything, and I’m just a D.J. But putting all that aside, I think if I were in charge of stimulating the economy, along with some of the things the president is doing, I would also ask every American this question: How much would it cost to set you straight? In other words, I’m not trying to make you rich; I’m just trying to get you on your feet.
For some people, it’s $100,000, but for some, it’s $1,800 or maybe even $125.00. Think about it. How many people do you know who have had one bill they couldn’t pay that kept escalating, and before they knew it, it was out of hand and then everything else started to fall apart? How many people needed money for a bus pass so they could go on a job interview that might have changed their financial picture forever? How many times has some one asked you for a loan that you refused, and then you blew that amount in an hour at the casino? Part of President Obama’s election platform included us Americans recognizing that we can do a lot more on our own — that we should take more control of our own destiny by making good choices and taking responsibility for the choices we make. It’s Black History Month, the first one with a black president, and for me, that makes it and almost everything else more meaningful. We’re asking you to make a difference this month, and you can start by being your own stimulus package. Everyone isn’t doing bad right now, and if you’re blessed to still have an income, you can be a blessing to someone else. If you can help someone with a financial need, do it this month. Maybe you and some co-workers or friends can put your money together to pay someone’s gas bill or daycare bill or pay for a prescription. None of these acts of kindness will make anyone rich, but it just might get them straight — in a position to move forward and make progress in their lives. That’s making a difference. And that’s the point.