Like you, I am sick of all the talking about the economy, without the doing something about the economy. Of course, rigorous debate is needed on how to shore things up before it's Shantytown, U.S.A., but certain economic talking points have been beaten to death and become rather tiring. We need to stop hashing the hash that's already been hashed and get something done.
Here then, are five topics no political leader, economist or pundit need mention again.
1. We're Not the party of "No," We're the party of "Not Now"
"This isn't about Democrat or Republican at this point. We have some serious problems in our economy. And believe me, all of us want the president to succeed. We want this plan to work. Now, there's no real daylight between the president and Republicans on the Hill.... But, at the end of the day, we want him to succeed because America needs him to succeed. And, at the end of the day, I do think we have some better solutions. And over the coming months, I think the American people will see more of them," John Boehner, Meet the Press, 1/25/09
So, let's get this straight, Mr. House Minority Leader. The GOP leadership is dithering over the size of the stimulus package because you think it costs too much. Fair enough. And for argument sake, let's pretend that the George W. Bush years were a paradigm of fiscal conservatism. And we'll even point out that the Congressional Budget Office says "only" 64% of the proposed stimulus will be pumped into the economy by 2011.
Ladies and gentlemen, the alternative GOP plan is...Get back to us in mid-July, after the Independence Day holiday recess.
The best you could come up with is, "Trust us. We'll have this thing licked at some unidentified date down the road. Not saying when, but oh it is gonna' be great!"
We don't want to hear about the coming months; we want to hear about right now. Today. You have ideas. Share them. Mr. Boehner, have the stones to put forth the actual stimulus plan discussed behind closed Republican doors. A few of those ideas show initiative in kick-starting the economy while appealing to your beloved base.
*Round Up all Illegal Immigrants, Auction Them Off to Mexican Families Based in Mexico
*Sell Unaborted Babies to Celebrity Moms; Get Exclusive Photos; Start Tabloid Picture War
*Eliminate All Taxes. Wait And See How That Plays Out.
2. We're talkin' about taxes, man.
You know what no single person lucky enough to still have a job wants to hear:
"Important Person Muckety-Muck Withdrew From the Obama Administration Because They Owed Thousands in Unpaid Taxes..."
Yes, we're looking at you Tom Daschle. Allegedly, you are an expert who could have done the Lord's work in helping to solve our healthcare mess.
But damn those pesky pay-your-taxes-laws! They just get in the way of progress! And Lincoln town cars! And chauffeurs!
You almost fooled us by going incognito as Sally Jesse Raphael, Senator Daschle, but the IRS saw right through your candy-apple frames. The worst part isn't that we lost your knowledge and experience, nor that it means we'll have to wait another decade to get medical records online (hey, these Interwebs just might work!), it's that you played the stereotype right into the hands of Republican "humorists."
The tax-and-spend-party-not-paying-taxes is such an obvious gag line that even Mallard Fillmore took a pass because it's too easy.
And that duck fucking hates liberals.
3. We're Still Talkin' About Taxes, Man?
In the least shocking development since your child barfed up the salmonella-and-jelly sandwich served at school lunch, the Republican leadership is calling for more tax cuts.
Again with the tax cuts? Does your party have any ideas whatsoever outside of tax cuts? What's that you say? The GOP is also for "cutting taxes?" Well now, there's a new wrinkle.
The Panic of 1893, the biggest American depression up to that point, was brought on in part by railroad magnates overextending themselves through expansion, which led to bank failures, home foreclosures, farms going belly up and eventually, four million workers with nothing to do all day. (Guitar Hero having yet to be invented.) President Grover Cleveland took a hands-off approach, other than to persuading Congress to repeal the Sherman-Silver Purchase Act of 1890, a compromise between fans of the gold standard and the bi-metal approach.
You know what that accomplished? NOTHING.
Well, that's not quite true. Cleveland made a deal with Wall St. fat cats to float gold bonds to maintain the gold standard, which lined their pockets while convincing the rest of the country that fat cats like August Belmont were buying the country out from underneath them.
So here's an idea, GOP. Reintroduce bi-metallism. Throw in a 2009 Sherman-Silver Purchase clause to the stimulus bill, hold up the bill while working a populist angle on getting us off the Cash4Gold.com standard, and then, in a few weeks, say the Democrats won't work on a bipartisan bimetallism solution, so let's just add in a some more tax cuts.
At least you'll be adding something new to the debate.
4. Who Wants to Be a Scumdog Millionaire?
In times of crisis, nobody wants to watch the Oscars. Sure, when America is going gangbusters, we love gathering around the communal fire to enjoy the piquant quips of Bruce Vilanch.
But as we've been told, it's not time for childish things, especially this year, when the odds-on favorite to take home a gold statue suitable for melting down is Slumdog Millionaire. This is a movie that combines the abject poverty of Born Into Brothels with the milquetoast trivia of Who Wants to Be a Millionaire? At no time, has any red-blooded game show fan ever thought to themselves, "I would enjoy Regis Philbin's bon mots a lot more if he were delivering them from an outpatient clinic at the Pine Ridge Indian Reservation."
Slumdog Millionaire is a downer. And worse, it isn't even an American downer.
What we all crave right now is a pick-me-up, a when-the-going-gets-tough Bluto Blutarsky kind of experience. Oh, and now that the NFL season is over, a little stylized violence wouldn't hurt. That's why the Obama administration should run a pay-per-view event opposite the Oscars. The announcer will be Regis, and the event shall be called:
Who Wants to Be a Scumdog Millionaire?
The premise is simple. All of the well-heeled douchebags who carved bonuses out of the taxpayer-funded bailouts have to go get their piles of money in the "Cash Grab From Hell!!!" (Trademark pending.)
John Thain, you want that $10 million bonus? All you have to do is survive a ride to the top floor of Merrill Lynch, or B of A, or whatever it is, on an elevator filled with rattlesnakes! Suck out your own poison, and we'll even throw in an $87,000 throw rug!
Hey Dick Fuld! You want the deed transferring ownership of your $14 million mansion to your wife for $100 to protect your assets you accrued while running Lehman Brothers into the ground? No problem. The deed is right over there on the far wall. Just swing from rope-to-rope over this pool of boiling acid. Don't look down!
With so many "shovel-ready" contestants (That's right James Dimon, the keys to your private JP Morgan plane are buried somewhere in this field of land mines), Who Wants to Be A Scumdog Millionaire? Could provide hours upon hours of family fun and be the shot in the arm the economy needs. At $100 a pop, backed by a Congressionally-mandated gambling pool, this thing would easily pay for the stimulus package and then some.
Honey bee insurance and tax cuts for everyone!
5. What Do You Mean You're Out of the Lumberjack Slam?
The free Denny's Grand Slam offer last Tuesday saw the chain serve up some two million breakfast platters.
You know where hungry Americans ate during the Great Depression?
They ate at "Hoover Cafes," better known as soup kitchens.
You know why?
Because they had dignity.
Jesus H. Christ on a Rooty Tooty Fresh N' Fruity people, we haven't hit rock bottom yet. Nobody should be forced to eat a meal of last resort.
From Denny's, it's a buttery slope to the Waffle House, which means the U.S. has officially entered the Great Depression 2.0
And nobody wants to hear about that.