Hard Rain’s Gonna Fall

8 April 2011

A cold, gray, dreary rain beseiges our fair city today, as if reflecting the bleak mood of its hundreds of thousands of civil servants who now face the prospect of a government shut down. “Stop playing politics” is the unspoken imprecation on everyone’s lips. “Just get it done, for Christ sake.”

Like asking a baseball player to “stop playing baseball”, or a basketball player to “stop playing basketball.”

They are politicians, that’s what they do.

So, in the meantime, we must open our papers each morning to the glowering “please-pass-me-another- lemon-this-one’s-dry” face of Boehner, counterpointing the grim visage of Harry Reid, as they barrel towards each other at 120 mph, with the American people in between.

The Republicans seem pretty convinced they are going to win this Demolition Derby, because they have backed the Democrats into a corner: accept a slew of constituent-killing amendments (women’s health — okay, abortion — the environment, etc etc) or we will shut it down. The Dems are hoping for a sequel to “Mr Newt Blows Up Washington”.

Were I cynic, I would say the Republicans end game is to suck so much money out of the economy that it kills the recovery and has Obama going into the elections presiding over another slumping economy. Evidence is mounting, across the pond, that Cameron’s shock therapy may be killing the UK economic revival.

If the Republicans know anything, it’s how to destroy an economy. “We did it once, we can do it again,” you can almost hear Boo Hoo thinking.

So you didn’t like my Digitalize our Demcracy solution How about this. Put Reid and Boehner in a room, each with a telephone, and tell them not to come out until they have called all the world’s billionaires and gotten a trillion dollars worth of pledges to help us erase our $1.6 trillion deficit.

Come on, you know they could do it! I mean, one thing about many of these billionaires is that, contrary to what you might think, they really don’t spend that much. Without blinking an eye, Warren Buffet gave half his fortune to Bill Gates’ foundation. Carlos Slim, with $53.5 billion, making him the richest man in the world, recycles his coffee grounds in a dirty sock each week until the coffee pours clear as spring water. Then he goes out to Sam’s Club and buys a 100 lb. bag of Folgers. As the saying goes, youth is wasted on the young, and money on the rich.

I think I’m going to stay up until midnight tonight, as if it were New Year’s Eve, just to see if either side blinks. A little more than 7 hours to go.

Tick, tock.

Rupert Scofield


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