When President Barack Obama signed into law the $787 billion stimulus package on February 17, I couldn’t help but think of the 1985 Grammy award winning song by the English band Dire Straits, “Money for Nothing.”
No, that’s not a political commentary on how the money is being spent. I’m talking about all the corporate executives and state and local politicians who had hoped to grab their share of the pie now are thinking twice. As they look more closely at the consequences of the money grab, they’re finding that some of the terms are not to their liking. Whether it is limits on executive compensation or restrictions on where and how the money can be spent, they’re finding out that you don’t get “money for nothing” even from the federal government. It seems that some of the would-be recipients of the stimulus package were hoping the terms would allow them to fit the description Mark Knopfler penned when he wrote the song along with Sting:
That ain’t workin’, that’s the way you do it,
Money for nothing . . .
Now that ain’t workin’, that’s the way you do it,
Lemme tell ya, them guys ain’t dumb
Unfortunately, it didn’t work out for many of them. They discovered that there are strings attached. It’ll be interesting to learn what they decide — accept the money with strings or opt to take their chances without it. It appears that you don’t get “money for nothing.”