Narrator voice: Economists in 2020 did not, in fact, know what anything cost, and that was precisely why the planet was dying.

$1200 ought to be more than enough buy a couple of new cars, right?

original article here:

· · Web · 2 · 7 · 5

And the (um) money quote:

<<“Given precedence and the amount of the checks, one might have expected larger spending on the likes of automobiles, electronics or appliances that eventually would have a bigger impact on economic recovery. But based on transaction data in our analysis, it’s clear that these checks are sorely needed to help households stay afloat in these very challenging times,” said Professor R.A. Farrokhnia>>

The actual paper:

And again

<<These one-time payments consist of $1,200 per adult and an additional $500 per child under the age of 17.>> (p8)

<<Given the size of the 2020 stimulus checks, we might have expected large impacts on categories like automobile spending, electronics, appliances, and home furnishings. Instead it seems that individuals are catching up with rent and bill payments as well as engaging in spending on food, personal care, and non-durables.>>(p15)

they might have expected


given the size

might have expected


the size

might have expected

Steve Mnuchin, Treasury Secretary:

"I think the entire package provides economic relief overall for about 10 weeks."

$1200 / 70 days = $17.14 per day

@natecull tbqh: wtf??

It's almost as if they didn't believe people really needed that money. <.<

I honestly believe they look at us and say "Hey, you still have (some) money! Clearly the prices could go higher."

@natecull maybe if we weren't all buying expensive avocado toast flavored coffees a hundred and twenty bucks a week would go farther


I keep seeing this meme, what's the origin of it? And is the joke that $10 is too expensive or too cheap?

(it was a frozen banana, right? $10 for a small takeaway dessert item, retail, would be about right in New Zealand, maybe a little cheap. A coffee is $4.50 and all the restaurants say that's a loss leader.)


(Yes, our local restaurants are on the edge of bankruptcy and want us all to be spending much more than $20-$30 on lunch, and I'm, good luck with your prospects, mate)

@natecull the television show "Arrested Development" and it was more a comment on the general state of the wealthy being out of touch with what anything actually costs


but that's the problem, the "wildly out of touch" price is almost exactly correct, at least in NZ...

@natecull @djsundog Well, in a different currency and country and almost 20 years later, to be fair.

@keithzg @djsundog

and if the joke had stayed on TV 20 years ago in a different country and wasn't a meme that's all over my Twitter today, I wouldn't be so baffled by it

@natecull @keithzg @djsundog it's way too high partly because iirc she's referring to the loss to the company of ingredients, which would be somewhere in the range of a few cents

@it_wasnt_arson @keithzg @djsundog

I guess 20 years ago, in the USA, bananas *must have* been only a few cents each, for that joke to have been funny.

But today, in NZ... where I'm encountering the joke for the first time, shorn of context, on epidemiology Twitter of all places...

you can pay $1 for one raw banana in the supermarket. Suddenly the entire subtext of the joke changes.

bananas and memes 

@natecull @it_wasnt_arson @djsundog Well that's still 1/10th of the cited price! So even in that skewed context the joke works, albeit lower in comedic excess (a tenfold increase isn't as patently absurd as a hundredfold).

But it's always interesting how these memes (and I mean this more in the original sense, rather than the narrower sense, although obviously both apply here) travel so far from their reference points, eventually becoming from many or most people references without a referent. Like the floppy drive becoming a save icon, which is now for many many people simply "the save icon".

I've been increasingly bemused by creating my own memes (and I mean this in the narrower modern sense), things that I feel might stand a chance at becoming such freestanding signifier sans signified. Like this brief clip from a 50's movie, which I *think* can stand on its own, and I now have in my arsenal to deploy when applicable in the memetic melee that is Twitter.

P.S. In honour of this thread and that it's a long weekend here at least in my part of The Commonwealth, I've enlivened the non-alcoholic ginger beer I'm currently drinking with a very alcoholic liqueur made largely from . . . bananas :D

@natecull what it's saying is this $1200 amount is much bigger than what people got in 2001 and 2008 and back then people were spending it to upgrade their cars. This was not the case this time.


I guess also maybe the whole world didn't shut down and several tens of millions of people lose their jobs in 2001 and 2008?

(I don't actually know what the jobs impact was in the USA in 2001 and 2008... it didn't quite hit in NZ in the same way. But presumably the 2001 people buying new cars weren't the same ones who lost jobs?)

@natecull 2001 and 2008 were the most recent (global) economic crises, so it's worth comparing what Americans did with what Americans received and comparing that with how Americans this time. This recession is more severe, but millions of Americans lost their jobs in the GFC as well, and there was some uptick in car purchases.

@natecull Wait, so economists are actually LISP programmers?


Haskell programmers know the value of everything, they just wait to output it for a few years.

Sign in to participate in the conversation

Server run by the main developers of the project 🐘 It is not focused on any particular niche interest - everyone is welcome as long as you follow our code of conduct!