An economics student approached the professor and said, “I still don’t understand this stimulus thing. Can you explain it to me?”
The professor replied, “I don’t have time to explain it here but if you come to my house at 8 a.m. this Saturday with as many one-dollar bills as you can get, I’ll be glad to explain it to you in detail.”
The student, wanting to ace the upcoming exams, agreed.
At 8 a.m., the student arrived at the professor’s house. The professor stated that the weekend project involved his backyard pool.
They both walked out to the pool where the professor handed the student a bucket. Demonstrating with his own bucket, the professor said, “First, go over to the deep end, and fill your bucket with as much water as you can.” The student did as he was instructed.
The professor then continued, “Now carry your bucket to the shallow end, dump the water there, and hand me one of your dollar bills.” The professor explained matter-of-factly, “By transferring water from the deep end to the shallow end, we can make the pool the same depth at both ends.”
After a number of trips, the exhausted student dumped his bucket of water in the shallow end of the pool and handed the professor his last one-dollar bill.
“Well?” the professor asked.
“I don’t get it,” the student replied. “We didn’t change the depth of the pool at all, we wasted all day on this project, and now I’m broke, so I can’t do anything else.”
The professor put down his bucket and replied with a smile, “Congratulations. You are now an expert on the stimulus bill.”