You walk into the emergency room, where 20 patients lie in assorted beds, with various illnesses. Two of them have severe abdominal pain, and look as though they will require surgery.
You go from room to room, explaining to everyone that you don’t really know what’s wrong with the two sickest patients; it’s apparently a complex mixture of bad diets, neglect by their personal physicians, self-inflicted wounds and excessive intake of free booze at a recent wedding.
Although confident that most of the other patients are not that ill, you explain to all the rest that the problems of those two are also the problems of everyone else on some cosmic level, and that everyone else needs surgery as well.
When asked how much it will cost, you provide several different answers, then shrug and say, ‘I’m not really sure. I’ll probably have to charge more after you pay the first bill. It just depends.’ The two who actually need surgery are informed that their surgery will be free.
When asked ‘what surgery will you do to the rest of us,’ you pull out a 1500 page surgery text and say ‘it’s somewhere in here, but I don’t have time to look at all of that. You can read about it if you have time; but we’re going to surgery in 15 minutes, so you’d better hurry.’
When asked why you have to hurry, you mutter words under your breath like ‘crisis and catastrophe, morbidity and mortality’ and then bring the patient a surgery consent.
The surgery consent has already been signed for them, because someone else took over their medical power of attorney. The consent is irrevocable.
When asked ‘what are the complications,’ you say ‘I’m not sure. I didn’t really study what happened the last time we did this.’
As the patients line up on their stretchers to go to the operating room, the two who actually need surgery walk down the aisle taking their wallets. You take their watches and rings.
The stimulus bill is born.