Add stimulus, UP. Remove stimulus,DOWN.

Which bit of this life-rule do governments not get?

“Wow! Not the Pavlov’s Dog?”

I don’t have a lot of time for Rupert Murdoch: he’s too old, too nasty, too controlling and too tabloid for my taste. But his record – the good commercial bit -speaks for itself. And I was once told an anecdote which very briefly endeared him to me.

He was in a sales meeting at The Sunday Times, and a bright young thing gushed forth on how CD giveaways were consistently selling newspapers for Newscorp.

“What happens when we’re not givin’ ’em away?” asked the world’s most flexible citizenship.

“Sales return to where they were” said the young woman, as if to prove her point.

Murdoch gave the blank stare that people around him come to recognise after a while.

“I see” he said, asking, “So the only way we can sell something for a quid is to give away something that cost fifty million quid? Christ, are we in trouble”.

In the cash-for-clunkers scheme, Team GB gave away four hundred million quid to make 100,000 voters feel a bit better. This was the only resultant benefit from the scheme – and yes, it stands as a marker of just how much trouble New Labour was in.

When the scheme ends, the Motor Traders association admitted last week, there will be a dip in car sales. Stand by for Ministers queuing up to say, when it happens, that this was “unexpected”.

Yesterday in the States, the withdrawal of federal tax credits for home buyers led to a ‘steeper-than-expected’ plunge in May sales.

Economists and property analysts expected home sales to slow down following the credit’s withdrawal. But the sales decline was ‘far more substantial than expected’ at around 25% to 30%.

You see, Government isn’t like real life, and tax dollars are free dollars – so they are no indication of anything….any more than free CDs are.

As the man said, “Something that costs nothing is of no value”.