Economic Stimulus — Step Up, Act Locally
As some small recompense for the $50 billion in direct and indirect economic stimulus President Obama and Congress claim are coming to California, the Lucas Family is doing its part to economically stimulate other parts of the country.
On April 4, the Katherine Irene Lucas East Coast College World Tour 2009 began. Rather than focus so heavily on the preservation of public sector jobs, as two-thirds of the federal package does, the strategy has been to buttress other flagging sectors of the national economy.
While no purchase of a new domestic automobile is contemplated during the 10-day trip, several struggling segments of the U.S. economy have received a boost.
Airlines, for starters.
Flights for three from Sacramento to New York via Salt Lake City. Then, returning from Washington D.C. through Salt Lake City and back home. Coinage generously sprinkled along the way in airport food joints.
Rail transportation is sound economically and sound environmentally. All aboard, Amtrak from Penn Station to Boston Back Bay. Then Back Bay to Union Station in D.C.
Five hard-working NYC cabbies split a low three-figures block grant.
Retail came perilously close to a significant revenue spike April 5 through a proposed prom dress pilgrimage to Macys on 7th Ave.
Mercifully – the Lucas Family cannot print money — walking back through Central Park to Columbus Circle from the Metropolitan Museum of Art, after donating $50 in support of the arts, broke the resolve to buoy this sector.
However, subsequently becoming avid collectors of colleges-visited sweatshirts – Columbia, Princeton and NYU to date – has more than compensated for that brief lapse of commitment.
Although not investing at the same percentage as the federal stimulus, the Lucas Family effort recognizes the vital contribution the public sector makes to the national economy.
Therefore, rather than purchase individual $2 Metro tickets, which would have been sufficient to meet daily need, all-day $7.50 tickets were invested in.
New Jersey Transit employees should also be grateful. Rather than simply buy tickets from Penn Station to Princeton Junction, fares all the way to Trenton were purchased. Indeed, a conductor on the “Dinky” – the one-car shuttle that transports passengers from the junction to the campus — allowed a free ride for three, in both directions.
One cynic suggested this was due to overpayment rather than gratitude for job security.
In the private sector, the biggest impact for the smallest capital infusion clearly is the restaurant industry.
While New York City appears to already price its food and beverages at a level to ensure sufficient profit to maintain current eatery employment levels, investment in a meal ripples through many parts of the economy.
Consider the impact of an April 5 meal at Cookshop in Chelsea at 156 10th Ave. The gratuity, of course, helps struggling actors continue to work their craft on off-off-off Broadway or in Madison Avenue commissioned commercials. Without customers, there would be no chefs or cooks.
A $3 bowl of fried hominy goes directly to the bottom line of America’s hominy makers, Teasdale being the most visible. The $15 glasses of wine encourage winemakers to make more.
The $27 duck breast aids the poultry industry. The dried cherries accenting it, a boon to Sun Maid. A Bibb lettuce salad helps California’s Central Valley farmers and the scallops, the seafood industry.
To say nothing of the indirect benefits to wholesalers, distributors, grocers and delivery services.
It was a proud moment paying the $160.35 tab.
So proud that dinner the following night saw the investment grow to $250. And, as a bonus, the complex ingredients in the Italian antipasti dishes allowed that meal to have an even broader economic impact.
This multi-pronged public/private investment strategy is slated to continue in Boston.
Because of the Lucas Family’s commitment to full transparency in ensuring these stimulus dollars reach the proper beneficiaries, a second status report will be duly filed.
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