BY CHARLES MEMMINGER – Like most people going through a difficult financial patch – which is to say just about everyone in the country – I find it hard to sympathize with President Obama and congressional leaders whining about not being able to manage this national economic mess and accusing each other of being intractable.
And that’s probably why poll numbers show approval ratings for the president and members of Congress are somewhere below Casey Anthony’s. All she did is (allegedly) kill her two-year-old daughter Caylee while our elected leaders in Washington D.C. have put a hit out on the entire country.
I don’t want to hear about raising the national debt ceiling. At Memminger Inc. we hit the debt ceiling a long time ago and, unlike the country, we can’t just raise it at will. Elected officials of both stripes talk about improving the economy by cutting spending and increasing revenue. (“Revenue” is a Washington D.C. word that means “other people’s money.”)
The average family has already cut spending as much as it can. I know that the Safeway Adult Beverage Aisle Manager eyes me savagely when I enter the store these days, muttering under his breath about some vast backlog of unpurchased cheap white wine that apparently is building up in the storehouse. And as for revenue, most Americans are too busy MAINTAINING revenue to give any thought to RAISING it, even if they could.
Sadly, the average domestic abode doesn’t come equipped with a money-printing machine in the basement. A strange equity-neutral battle is raging on the free Internet classified advertising site Craig’s List where people are selling tons of household crap to each other. (I got a sweet deal on a little baby grand piano that some loser was forced to sell. I keep it over in the corner next to the Baldwin piano I haven’t been able to unload on anyone yet. I did find some losers to dump a kayak, typewriter and a couple of bamboo barstools on, though.)
So people don’t want to hear that Obama is playing a round of golf every week and flying on Air Force One (ka-ching!) around the country raising money for his reelection campaign while complaining that Republicans in Congress aren’t taking the so-called “debt crisis” seriously. People also don’t want to hear Republicans and Democrats in Congress complain about the debt ceiling and federal budget impasse while they are packing for their summer recess. These people have more recess time than pre-schoolers.
I say no more recesses and no more golfing until the budget battles are over. They say the prez needs to golf and members of congress need their down time to deal with the stress of their jobs. Stress? Your public approval rating is nearly in Kim Jong-iL-land. Mahmoud Ahmadinejad is a Billy the Busy Beaver compared to you. You don’t suffer from stress, you CAUSE stress. If you were an assistant manager at McDonald’s and you had the job approval rating you have now, you wouldn’t BE an assistant manager at McDonald’s. You wouldn’t be an assistant manager anywhere, let alone in charge of a $14 trillion dollar financial enterprise like the United States of America.
Next time Obama is golfing – he can’t be stopped – at some ritzy country club, he ought to take a look at how that club is run. Country clubs know how to conduct business. When the members get together to make decisions on the club’s finances I understand it is a rule that the club bar will be closed until all business is completed. As you can imagine, those business meetings are quite successful and move a long at a brisk pace. Can we shut down the bars in Washington D.C. until all the nation’s business is completed?
Financial misery tends to seep downhill. Misery from the bad decisions in Washington seep to every household. And it seemp from those in a household to those who aren’t fortunate to live in a house. A few weeks ago I took some money out of an account in one bank to take over to put in an account in another bank to keep that account solvent.
As I left Bank Number Two – and this is a completely true story – a grungy-looking panhandler came up to me and before the glass door had swung shut he said, “Hey, boss, can you spare a couple of bucks?” I was stunned and, frankly, annoyed. I wanted to grab him by his dirty collar and say, “You’ve got a few coins in your pocket, right? You don’t OWE anybody money, right? You’re way ahead of me, boss!”
I didn’t say that and I’m sorry to say I didn’t give him any money. But if he wants to complain, he should move to where the misery starts.