Thursday, January 31, 2008

CNBC's Sqawk Box: Quick, Quintanilla, and Kernen

Quick, Quintanilla, and Kernen may sound like a law firm but it's not. They're the three hosts of CNBC's Squawk Box and they dish the early business news while many people aren't yet awake. The conversation's likely to stray into regular news areas and this a.m. was no different. These are three smart people in spite of the laconic and laid-back style. Becky Quick is like that brainy attractive girl you were afraid to hit on in high school because high intelligence usually gets in the way of passionate daydreams. Joe Kernen has a studied nonchalance but will always beat the dealer whether it's Poker or Three Card Monte. Carl Quintanilla is the bright and fresh-faced guy who makes you feel cheery while he tells you you are dying of cancer. It's a good place to be to get a grip on things, especially if you are up to here (cut-throat gesture) with primary campaign politics.
So Becky Quick was telling the story about a New York economist professor who did a study on government give-backs to stimulate the economy. As you know, there are 2 such plans in congress and parts of both plans refer to "rebate" programs. The whole idea of the "rebate" is to get people to pump money back into the economy. So the professor's study had 2 groups, one in which the give- back was called a "rebate" and the other group in which the give-back was called a "bonus." Guess which group pumped more money back into the economy?
People getting $50 bucks of "rebate" money spent about 12.50 whereas people receiving "bonus" money spent about 22.00. You can do the psychology yourself. Maybe a third alternative would better suit the goal of pumping money into the economy: call the give-back money the taxpayer's "winnings."

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