"Rant" Chief Kepple to
Spend Stimulus Cash in Michigan
Aid to Benefit Struggling Sport of
New Hampshire "Cool With That"
By HARRIS SCHWED
ROMULUS, Mich. -- Officials in southeastern Michigan were "cautiously optimistic" about reports Benjamin Kepple, the chief of an Internet content provider based in New Hampshire, planned to spend all of his economic stimulus money from the Government in the Great Lakes State this spring.
Kepple, who admitted he would "blow the whole stupid check" while on a long weekend in the depressed Rust Belt state, told reporters from New Hampshire he had made plans to spend the money on football tickets, hotel rooms, rental car charges and other sundry items. All told, Kepple said, his planned expenditures in Michigan so far worked out to $458.60, a sum which would "very likely" top $600 when all is said and done.
"That doesn't count the cost of the plane ticket, but that's because the airline isn't headquartered in Michigan," Kepple said. "True, that money might theoretically support some airline support staff at Detroit Metro, but I don't think including that would square with GAAP. But I'm pretty pleased with the result, nonetheless."
"I'm going home!" Kepple added cheerfully.
The news prompted shock and amazement among several economists, who have questioned just how many people plan to spend their stimulus payments.
"Mr. Kepple's admission he is spending the cash on a vacation is downright incredible," said Tod Forsythe, an economist with the University of Michigan. "As of our latest count, he is one of just 27 Americans to admit spending the money on non-essentials. Normal people are saving the money or spending it slowly on basic necessities, not blowing it on some weird off-season bender of a vacation. Indeed, his shockingly flagrant admission of expenditures is the most noteworthy we've seen since Mrs. Bertha Schwenke of Fond du Lac, Wisc., announced she would buy a dinette set from Floyd's Fast-Delivery Furniture."
Kepple readily agreed with Forsythe's statement his trip was "completely irresponsible," but said the timing and availability of football made it a "clearly worthwhile, even if completely irresponsible, trip."
Kepple said roughly one-sixth of the money would be spent on tickets to professional football games, including the All-American Football League's Team Michigan and the Arena Football League's Grand Rapids Rampage. This might have been more, Kepple said, although he "missed out" on the chance for 50-yard-line tickets with the AAFL, and "really close-up" AFL tickets are in his judgment overpriced.
"I don't know about you, but I've never been enamored with the idea of a wide receiver flying into my seat," Kepple said. "I like to be close to the action, of course, but not TOO close. I was once in the third row of an arena-football game when two players flew over the boards and landed on the poor folks in the first row; that's close enough. If I can get seats a few rows back for less, that's worth it."
"In any event, though, I can't wait to go see the Grand Rapids Rampage again and I'm especially excited to see the AAFL's Michigan team. I'm in line for a fantastic seat there and can't wait for the game. Hail to Michigan!"
Michigan officials hailed the news.
"This is great! An out-of-stater is coming to Michigan and spending money! Based on our estimates, this could generate as much as $2,000 or even $3,000 in economic activity around the state," said Marcus Henry, the state's Secretary of Business and Economic Development.
"I'm not an out-of-stater! I grew up in -- " Kepple cut in.
"I mean, how wonderful it is to see a returning native son come home to Michigan," Henry said, correcting himself. "We hope he has a wonderful time. Also, we hope his example will serve as a shining beacon to others -- especially out-of-staters -- to visit the great state of Michigan, which has unparalleled natural beauty, excellent cultural attractions and amazing activities for the entire family. Did I mention our Web site? It's here."
"If you seek a pleasant peninsula, look around you," Henry added.
However, others were not so enthused about the news.
"That's all well and good, but how the hell does that help me?" asked Arnold van der Kringer, an unemployed machinist in Holland, a western Michigan city located near Lake Michigan. "He's not coming to Holland. He's not even getting close to Holland. I mean, explain to me how a native son won't visit Holland during the Tulip Time Festival, will you?"
"Tulips. God, that's fitting, given the economy and the subprime mortgages, isn't it?" van der Kringer said. "Speculative bubbles, everywhere you look! Rotten thieving scoundrels!"
As for Kepple's present home of New Hampshire, officials there were reportedly "cool" with Kepple's decision to spend his stimulus money back in Michigan.
"Look, let's be honest about this," said an unnamed official in the Department of Revenue Administration. "In December, we had a 3.6 pc unemployment rate. In Michigan, it was 7.6 pc. The place lost nearly 80,000 jobs in the past year. Eighty thousand! So, you know, we're not really going to complain that much if Mr Kapple, or whatever his name is, decides to spend some money in his home state. Because his home state ... well, it's Michigan. God help them!"Posted by Benjamin Kepple at February 27, 2008 10:37 PM | TrackBack