I saw Missy and Biff when I stopped for the daily fishwrap at the general store and bait emporium here in North Puffin this morning.
“Obama’s attack dogs have it wrong,” Missy said before I had even knocked the snow off my boots. Attack dogs? Missy wears bling which dangles and jangles when she dips her minnows out of the bait tank. She usually prefers to talk about fishing and motorcycles and her job with the state so I put down my newspaper and paid attention.
“Even Biff notices that they go off and drag Monica Lewinsky or A-Rod on steroids or Global Warming through the news,” she pointed to my newspaper, “when they want to distract us from what’s going on in Washington.”
Missy is right. It’s not that anyone, particularly Biff the Plumber, wants the much vaunted (and incalculably expensive) recovery to fail. It’s simply that the much vaunted (and incalculably expensive) recovery has no chance to succeed and everyone in the Administration is afraid we might notice.
I am not a national economist nor do I play one on television. I have, however, run a small business for more than 20 years and kept a budget for more than 40. I may not show my butt crack on the job but I’m obviously closer to Biff the Plumber than to my Congress Critters.
“Last month Obama said the Republicans were his BFFs,” she said. “Now he’s acting like they stole the ball in Keep-Away again.”
Indeed. The current spat lets the Administration skate past the fact that not one single solitary penny spent by a government creates wealth. Oh, dont get me wrong. Government spending makes plenty of people particularly elected people wealthy but it does not create wealth; it just moves the money from one pocket to another. The GDP not only does not rise, it falls when all spending is government spending.
Government spending is the country-wide equivalent of taking in each other’s laundry.
Government borrowing is the country-wide equivalent of taking a reverse mortgage on your house.
But wait! A reverse mortgage sounds like a pretty good idea. You still can’t take it with you but you get to spend it all before you go.
“We decided against a reverse mortgage last year,” Missy said. “The cost is too high and we figure we should leave at least a little something for the kids if we can.”
When the government takes a reverse mortgage on our national house, the kids will get less than nothing. That means the much vaunted (and incalculably expensive) recovery may ruin us.
Missy said she asked Vermont’s lone Congressman if he could prove the G.R.A.F.T. Act would work.
“‘The President understands what Vermonters know: our economy is struggling and bold action is required’,” she said Peter Welch told her. “‘This plan is a major step toward restoring our lost jobs, lost wages and lost opportunities. This bill achieves those goals.'”
She asked him how.
“It relieves pressure on Vermont taxpayers, creates sustainable green jobs, and provides relief,” he said.
When she said she wants some data to back that up, he went on to the next question.
I agree. When 32,000 thousand scientists say “Hey, global warming doesn’t happen the way the politicians say it does,” I’d rather listen to the data than to some rock star with an advertising budget. And when the impartial Congressional Budget Office tells Peter Welch the G.R.A.F.T. Act won’t work, perhaps he should listen. Unless the CBO (his BFF just last week) is no longer his sandbox sweetheart.
And, just in case you thought the friendly pranks had, well, grown up, the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee took time out from spending money to divert us with some fun.
We ought to be past the schoolyard BFF stage.
If we don’t stop acting like spoiled little kids, the people wearing ties inside the Beltway will bankrupt our proudest industries. And then they surely will bankrupt the entire country.