Tuesday, January 29, 2008

The Nation of One

I lasted about seven minutes watching the State of The Union yesterday evening. One would have thought that our dear leaders might, with a 31% approval rating, near-zero global credibility, and an economy set to hemorrhage under the weight of housing collapse, consumer and government leverage and trade deficits, that they might have learned something, and tacked, if only for the sake of fellow republicans who will have to remain in congress and senate under Democratic control of all three bodies. But no. Sound bytes like "the future of American Prosperity is sound" (caution - not verbatim, but from memory) is simply delusional wishful thinking. It is NOT sound. It is NOT even "okay". It is absolutely disastrous, with even the normally sanguine IMF ringing the alarm bells. What are they thinking? Do they believe their bullshit? Say it enough times, loudly and with conviction, and the debt and the inflation will simply go away? DO they believe that, just as America helped the allies in D-Day invasion, Divine Intervention will soon arrive with buckets-of-bullion to service (not even contemplating paying down) our debts? Perhaps an Angel with come to earth (America, that it is) and deliver the blueprints for a cheap, working cold nuclear fusion device. That Americans will wake up tomorrow and say: " Ahhh reckonize that aahh've bin livin' wastefully-like, drivin' aroun' in ma' Dodge at 13mpg highway, an' today ahhhm'-a-gonna git me a Hondar. Yup..." of their own accord (not pun intended) is a pipe dream. Of fucking course people don't WANT too pay high taxes, but there are costs of running the State, and they are factual and beyond dispute. The role of leadership is NOT to encourage and assist your adolescent children to subsist on a breakfast of NestleCrunch Bars and Potato CHips, a lunch of Coca-cola and M&Ms, and dinner of deepfried potatoes and ketchup (with ice cream). Leadership is about using wisdom to argue, convince, cajole neighbors and fellow citizens to make the better and more sustainable choices - both for the present and future, and if necessary, use the force of law or parental coercion as the case may be, to further encourage fellow citizens to make the "better" decision, and discourage those those with meaningfully negative externalities. Stupid quips by the Leader-in-Chief like:
"Others have said they would personally be happy to pay higher taxes. I welcome their enthusiasm. I'm pleased to report that the IRS accepts both checks and money orders. (Laughter and applause.)"
The President (and all lawmakers who laughed along with him) should be embarassed by this derision and dismissal of the concept of a shared public interest and shared responsibility for fiscal finance. Ohh the shame!


Anonymous said...

When the future looks gloomy, as it presently does,I like to look back to words of wisdom from
those who have gone before us, to help light the way.
1. (courtesy of Will Rogers) "Stupidity got us into this mess, why can't it get us out?"
2. (from the late S.J.Perelman)" I may not know much about medicine, but I know what I like".
3. (from our fearless leader) "Give a man a fish and you feed him for a day. Teach a man to borrow a fish, and you feed him for a lifetime.

"Cassandra" said...

Some things in life are bad
They can really make you mad
Other things just make you swear and curse.
When you're chewing on life's gristle
Don't grumble, give a whistle
And this'll help things turn out for the best...

And...always look on the bright side of life...
Always look on the light side of life...

If life seems jolly rotten
There's something you've forgotten
And that's to laugh and smile and dance and sing.
When you're feeling in the dumps
Don't be silly chumps
Just purse your lips and whistle - that's the thing.

And...always look on the bright side of life...
Always look on the light side of life...

For life is quite absurd
And death's the final word
You must always face the curtain with a bow.
Forget about your sin - give the audience a grin
Enjoy it - it's your last chance anyhow.

So always look on the bright side of death
Just before you draw your terminal breath

Life's a piece of shit
When you look at it
Life's a laugh and death's a joke, it's true.
You'll see it's all a show
Keep 'em laughing as you go
Just remember that the last laugh is on you.

(with full deserving attribution to Eric Idle)

Khoriev said...

As you no doubt already know, "Brian" is being theatrically re-released this April. A new DVD with commentary and out-takes is also soon to be released. Cheers!

"Cassandra" said...

Thanks for the heads-up! I know that I cannot have done too badly raising my oldest (11yrs) when she asked "Santa" NOT for a Wii or iPhone, but for her own copy of "Life of Brian".

Willie said...

Shame? What's that?

Maybe W's handlers and owners are playing it correctly: the coming depression will be on a Democratic watch. Granted, this may not be "leadership", but it makes sense.

On the broader question of promoting/forcing "better" decisions, you can rest assured all levels of government in the US are moving to the use of force for even somewhat trivial matters. Unfortunately, this isn't being done with, say, environmental pollution.