Money can't buy me love, but can it buy peace? Iraq's Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki wants to find out — he's passing out cash on the streets of Iraq. Iraqi officials can dole out up to $8,000, to each person only once, as a way to improve the national economy and morale. I guess your $600 surplus check isn't looking so generous now!
Usually getting smaller sums, under $1,000, most Iraqi recipients use the money to get medical care, or cope after a death in the family or job loss. American and Iraqi officials believe money and better conditions will ease extremism; but concerns about favoritism and corruption still remain.
Governments love giving out money these days! While American lawmakers reach for consumer spending (and their own approval) with stimulus cash (and $42 million of taxpayer money used to notify every American that the government might send them money), Iraq wants these funds to spark confidence, and signal upcoming massive oil-revenue investments in Iraq's basic services. Are you buying it?