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Tuesday, January 22, 2008

The Economy is Falling (an old play)

I am not a very strong playwright. There, I said it. With all of the writers on strike, I thought I'd rip some writing from the headlines and see how it comes out.

Setting: a suburban middle class house in Minnesota.

Cast: Middle Aged Mom, Dad, Teenage Sister (Condi) and teen age Brother (Karl).

Dad: I just got the mail. Condi, did you charge something on my credit card? I have a recurring bill of $2 billion a week! This has to be a mistake!

Teen Daughter (Condi): Nope, I was logged onto Myspace last night and this guy Saddam was being a dick. I called a couple of my friends and had him and his bitches nailed.

Dad: I don't think I like your tone young lady and who said you could?

Teen Daughter: My friend Joe Lieberman sent me a text with a blank check. Cool, Huh?

Mom: What's all this stuff with all this Chinese writing on it? Our house is full to the rafters! What did you buy and why do you need all this stuff?

Brother (Karl): Aw schucks Mom, we just went to your good old big box store and bought everything! It was cheap and it was made by slave labor in China! Who cares? If I can't see the misery, than it doesn't exist. Fuck 'em!

Mom: It doesn't set a very good example!

Brother (Karl): Look, I only spent a couple of trillion on crap. But it's kick ass crap! Where the hell else is it going get made?

Dad: Don't worry about it, either of you! Go to your rooms and I'll send you a note from my Crackberry on when you can come down for some cloned meat dinner!

(Kids exit)

Dad to Mom: Hell, am I glad I refinanced this house using a variable rate balloon mortgage! I have a buttload of cash and one low payment! It will never go up as long as the economy stays constant.

Mom: That's a load off of my mind, I just refinanced the kitchen using a 19% credit card! Let me go get the cloned meat on the table!

I was thinking about making this a musical, except with Oompa Loompas singing all of the life lessons as the middle American's families fortunes take on a less than positive direction.

Ooompa Loompa doompety dee, who do you blame when your leaders are psychos? Who elected them?

Oompa Loompa doompety da, how did you make so many bad calls continuing to gorge even after you've fallen?

Oompa Loompa doompety do doo, common sense is missing from you....

So let's recap:

Huge amounts of high interested consumer debt.

Our leaders have used the Saudis and Chinese to finance our debt.

A war that we can't win (and that nobody wants) that costs $2 billion a week.

A housing market that has inflated the average cost of a home sale way beyond reality and used shoddy loans to finance a hugely overheated market.

What actually got me thinking about this was the following: I was watching Ben Stein on CBS Sunday Morning. I have loved that show since I was a kid (I know, weird, huh?) and I actually like Ben Stein. However he has a tendency to oversimplify situations as only someone from the Nixon Whitehouse could do.

Specifically, he was saying that the "potential" recession we may be facing would only last a few months and typically and historically didn't really impact us as much as any of us think. In other words, sit back, go to work and let everything work itself out.

That my friends, is a crock of shit. Let me mention a few things that weren't in past recessions:

$3.50 at the pump.

Trillions in new national debt.

Trillions owed to the Chinese.

Billions vaporized in the housing/finance market

Billions owed in consumer debt

Billions vaporized in a futile Iraq war

We may have dealt with one issue at a time during an economic slump however we now risk creating a perfect storm and something other than a recession. Can you say "depression"? Ah ha, now I might have your attention. And by the way, all the economies across different countries and geographies have some pretty hard ties, when one tanks the other don't do so well. Thus we probably shouldn't look for too much constructive criticism from our friends and foes.

One lesson from this is that apparently after 8 years of Republican rule, the term Fiscal Republican is no longer applicable. Forking over our American jobs to low wage laborers in the evolving third world wasn't such a great idea. Or lining the pockets of wealthy industrialists and contributors by relaxing regulations; probably not a great idea.

And by the way, I'm not convinced that any of the Republicans or Hilary or Barack can come up with something as innovative and intelligent as a TVA. Study your history folks, it's going to be a bumpy road ahead....

PS Feel free to write the end of the play. I thought I'd have everyone dress up in a cat outfit and jump out in the audience. It's kind of like sending a tax rebate out to American families for $800 to $1600 to go buy more shit at a big box store. Dancing like fools in the aisles until everyone leaves.


PSS the dog at the top has an interesting story. If someone wants me to write the story let me know by dropping a comment in the comments section.

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