Saturday, March 21, 2009

A round of drinks please!

Imagine that my husband and I both work. I make $100,000 a year; he makes $25,000. We have a joint checking account and joint credit cards. He usually handles the bills so I don’t pay a lot of attention to what he’s spending money on. One day a co-worker says she saw my husband out on the town the previous week and wondered what he was up to.

I go home and dig through the credit card receipts and sure enough he made a $100 charge at a restaurant last week. I confront my husband about it and he says he went out with a bunch of friends and he bought all their drinks.

I am incensed. How could he do this, I scream. The only reason you’re not making a decent salary now is because you still haven’t recovered from your car crash after you and your druggie friends went out bar hopping last year.

My husband explains that these friends are different. They’re all from work and they’re really helping him get back on his feet. When they rallied around after the crash he promised them that he’d buy them all drinks as soon as he could. He really wanted to keep his promise because he thinks they’re his best hope of eventually finding a better job. In fact he’s promised to take them out and buy them drinks a couple more times later this year.

I am unconvinced and unforgiving. I insist that he repay the money he spent buying them drinks last week and the same holds for any future drinks. Since I figure he has a right to a drink or two himself I only demand that he pay back $35 and snap that he should get his friends to pay back another $35. He explains that if he does that it will be hard for him to get more help from them. Tough, I say, then pay their share yourself.

My husband gets the joint checkbook and writes me a check for $70. I cash it and spend all the money on drinks for my own friends.

If you think I made money by having my husband pay me back from the joint checking account, you’ll love S. 651, the Senate’s plan to claw back the AIG retention bonuses.

On the other hand if you’ve managed to figure out that my husband “repaid” me mostly with money that I contributed in the first place and will continue to do so in the future, you probably want to know what dimwit came up with the Senate’s plan. Not to worry. It was only the “Senate Finance Committee Chairman Max Baucus (D-MT) and his GOP counterpart, Sen. Chuck Grassley (IA)”. Thank goodness it wasn’t anyone who is supposed to understand money.

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