06/02/2009 11:29 pm ET Updated May 25, 2011

The Great Repression

Note from Don McNay

This enclosed piece was sent to me by Mike Behler, my college roommate and close friend since childhood. Mike has frequently sent me ideas that has wound up in newspaper columns.

I was tempted to take the Maureen Dowd approach and act like I came up with this idea myself. However, the title, and the content, are so good that I am enclosing it in the exact format that Mike wrote it.

Don McNay

The Great Repression
by Mike Behler

I'm sure economists have a reason for holding back on calling our current financial mess a "depression". However, saying we're in the midst of the worst recession since the Great Depression just doesn't describe the situation fully (and it's just too many words!). If it isn't a depression and it's the worst recession ever, doesn't it deserve a name?

I suggest we call it The Great Repression. It combines the essence of both recession and depression in the long-standing American tradition of jamming together multiple words into one (e.g. smoke + fog = smog; Brad and Angelina become Brangelina: and, crazy-lady-with-a-litter-of-eight is Octomom). Since the Repression is being blamed on the Americans, we should have naming rights. We'll leave naming food to the French.

However, "Repression" goes beyond the surface. The uncertainty of the times has made us fearful on a number of levels. We're afraid to buy, so we repress our spending habits. We're afraid we'll lose our jobs, so we repress our constructive criticism at work. (Yeah, boss, that's the best idea I've ever heard.) We're afraid to take a risk, so we repress our urge to stop doing things the same old way.

I've never been afraid of big government, but The Repression is a great opportunity for the public sector to overstep its boundaries. Who'd have guessed that the U.S. government would own General Motors? I love Barack, but he's in a position to tell a whole lot of us what we can and cannot do, and the list grows bigger every day. Also, when people don't have enough money for a decent standard of living, the social order can become disorderly. The feds might have to repress that.

There's one final reason to name this thing The Great Repression. It's a lot better than The Great Depression 2.

Mike Behler is a native of Fort Wright, KY and has a B.A and M.P.A from Eastern Kentucky University. He lives in Atlanta where here is an administrator at Emory University School of Medicine. Mike has been great friends with Don McNay since the ninth grade.