x Abu Dhabi, UAE Friday 21 July 2017

Obama's blank cheque

It's heart-warming, in a strange way, that Barack Obama is sending personal cheques to some Americans who write to him about their problems.

With the US economy in tatters, little acts of charity always warm the heart. Of course, many could argue, the US president might want to think a little bigger.

According to Ten Letters, a book by Washington Post reporter Eli Saslow, President Barack Obama has been writing personal cheques to help struggling Americans who have sent letters to him about their financial difficulties.

Mr Obama is said to read 10 letters a day, and those he responds to sometimes receive more than just words of encouragement.

And those who do not get a handout can still make a quick buck. A man who received a response about bank bonuses has displayed the same resourcefulness that the president has encouraged: he put the note up for auction. The letter reads: "Tim, Thanks for your letter. I share your sentiments, and we are moving as quickly as we can to restore some common sense to the financial system. Barack Obama." It is expected to sell for about $10,000 (Dh36,700).

Obama pen pals, take note. Even those rare cheques are probably worth more at an auction house than at the bank.

Setting aside the propriety of a politician sending out cheques to his constituents, we have to question if this is the best stimulus policy. Perhaps Mr Obama should focus on signing legislation instead.