Dead Men Don’t Spend

The checks went forth yesterday.

And all the peoples rejoiced.


Stimulus blinders firmly attached! Let’s go! Mars is within reach! [PT]


Bloomberg reports:


As the economy reopens, consumer spending over the next two quarters is likely to be the strongest such period in at least 70 years with a rebound in services leading the way, according to economists at Wells Fargo & Co.


This is La Bubble Epoch… a gay time for all… full of farce and foolishness.

Tesla is going to the moon. Bitcoin is headed for Mars.

It makes us all giddy with excitement – 5G, 6G, 7G, 98G… million-dollar non-fungible tokens (NFTs) of cindered artworks and Michael Jackson “lactating”… negative real interest rates… Joe Biden… a free-range chicken in every pot and a stimmy check in every bank account.

All things are thought to be possible… even those that are physically, mathematically, and theoretically impossible.

And there is no longer any career risk or shame associated with saying or doing astonishingly stupid things.

Men can have babies, too – yes, we can! Farmers can plow backward to fool the crows.

But, OMG… You’re using the third-person singular masculine pronoun rather than the all-purpose, politically correct (though grammatically idiotic) “they.”


But that’s just a feature of the era. Things that don’t matter do matter. And things that do matter… well, fuhgeddaboutem.


Cockamamie Rip-Off

Our problem with this glorious age is that many things that don’t seem to matter right away – like a whiff of smoke on a dry California hillside, or a $3.3 trillion federal deficit – may become big deals later.

Here’s one… the biggest heist in history.

We refer to the $200 billion stolen from the “bailout” money. Here’s Yahoo Money on the story:


More than $200 billion in unemployment aid may have gone to fraudsters in the pandemic.

A significant chunk of the government support reserved for unemployed Americans went to fraudsters instead during the pandemic, according to new estimates.

More than $200 billion of unemployment benefits distributed in the pandemic may have been pocketed by thieves, according to, a computer security service that 19 states — accounting for 75% of the national population — use to verify worker identities. That’s more than triple the official government estimate of $63 billion based on the 10% pre-pandemic fraud rate.


Up to 30% of claims under the Pandemic Unemployment Assistance (PUA), the program that provides benefits to self-employed and contractors, are fraudulent, according to data by

What’s $200 billion? Peanuts.

But people follow leaders. And when leaders impose a cockamamie rip-off as the law of the land… it doesn’t take the public long before getting in the spirit of dishonesty behind it.

Then, the whole society falls apart.


It’s Complicated

But don’t worry, Dear Reader. The Biden Administration is ready to fight corruption – overseas! Politico:


Going after the ‘Achilles’ heel’: Biden charges into global anti-corruption fight

Earlier this month, amid a blizzard of news both domestic and foreign, Secretary of State Antony Blinken took the time to ban a powerful Ukrainian oligarch from setting foot in the United States.


That’s right. We won’t tolerate corruption – in the Ukraine. Here in the U.S.? Well… It’s complicated.

We are not so much concerned by the facts as by the theory. Sure, apparently many people – millions? – lied to get the stimmy money. But when the money goes, everything goes.

Money is what determines our place in line. Those with the most money go to the head of the line and get the most stuff. Those at the end get what’s left.

And when the feds begin handing out money willy-nilly, the right and the wrong of it are hard to figure out. It’s not surprising that people begin cutting in line.


Raise the Dead

First, the stimmy money itself…

Was it earned by House Speaker Nancy Pelosi? Did it belong to Joe Biden? Was it saved by Federal Reserve chief Jerome Powell? No.

Was it taken from any human being’s bank account? No again…

Then, how could it be stolen? From whom? Nobody.

Prosecutors would be at a loss. Because nobody is ever going to get standing in court to challenge the somebodies who made off with it.

Besides, who had a “right” to the money? The young woman who fit the eligibility requirements, as determined by Congress?

But where in the U.S. Constitution do the feds get the power to create money and give it to some people and not to others? You can check it yourself. Congress has no such right.

Maybe the thieves had as much of a right to the money as anyone else. It was up for grabs. They grabbed it.

And better they than some others.

According to the H&R Block website, even corpses are eligible for the stimmy money:


  1. I received a stimulus check for a deceased relative. What do I do?
  2. It depends when your loved one passed. Individuals who died in 2020 are eligible for the second stimulus check while anyone who died before 2020 is not.


This deepens our curiosity. Do the feds think they can raise the dead? If not, why give them money?


Federal Spend-a-Thon

Surely, a dead man needs the money less than a living one – no matter when he kicked the bucket. Even a fraudster would seem a better bag man than a corpse for the stimmy giveaways.

And maybe, it is “life-ist”… a kind of “live privilege”… to think that the shades are somehow unable to do their part in the great spend-a-thon that the feds are trying to incite.

Shame on us. We would be peddling a “negative stereotype” if we were to observe that dead men are not big spenders, are not stimulated very easily, and that even $1,400 is unlikely to do the trick.

And perhaps, since the impossible is now possible, fake money is real money and the frontier between right and wrong, true and false, ridiculous and sublime is no longer clearly marked –

perhaps it is no longer permissible to make distinctions?

Maybe the quick and the dead, sinners and saints, all have the same rights to the money that none of them earned?

So, in keeping with the Bubble Epoch zeitgeist, we will await the Dawn of the Dead… when the cadavers rise from their graves, shuffle into our malls and, drawing on their stimmy checks, leave with Hermès scarves,  thus distracting the clerks so the crooks can make off with the big-screen TVs.

Yes – that ought to get the economy moving in the right direction!


Cartoon by hedgeye


Image captions and edits by PT


Originally published at Bonner & Partners


Bill Bonner founded Agora, Inc in 1978. It has since grown into one of the largest independent newsletter publishing companies in the world. He has also written three New York Times bestselling books, Financial Reckoning Day, Empire of Debt and Mobs, Messiahs and Markets.




Dear Readers!

You may have noticed that our header carries ab black flag. This is due to the recent passing of the main author of the Acting Man blog, Heinz Blasnik, under his nom de plume 'Pater Tenebrarum'. We want to thank you for following his blog for meanwhile 11 years and refer you to the 'Acting Man Classics' on the sidebar to get an introduction to his way of seeing economics. In the future, we will keep the blog running with regular uptates from our well known Co-Authors. For that, some financial help would be greatly appreciated. A special thank you to all readers who have already chipped in, your generosity is greatly appreciated. Regardless of that, we are honored by everybody's readership and hope we have managed to add a little value to your life.


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