Count me confused. The president has just unveiled his proposed budget and it’s huge, even bigger than expected.The centerpiece of this new budget seems to be an urgent call for gargantuan federal investments in public education and high-speed rail.
And I’m staring dumbstruck at my television screen, counting my remaining pennies and worrying over the inflation that hits more items every time I go to the grocery store. I can’t help but wonder whether the president has lost his bearings.
Did President Obama just ask out-of-work, given-up-looking-for-work, under mortgage-water, penny-pinching Americans: “Brother, can you spare an investment”?
Because that’s sure what his new boondoggle budget sounds like to me.
Aren’t investments those things that people make after they’ve paid all their necessary expenses in the present and paid off all their debts for past purchases? That’s how we define investments in our family. There have been times when either my husband or I have taken an extra odd job just to have a bit to add to an investment fund. But for the life of me, I can’t remember a single time when we used bread money or bill money to invest in anything extra.
So President Barack Obama has either lost his bearings completely or else he fully intends — as long as he’s in the driver’s seat — to drive our little economic dune buggy off the cliff to the place where civilizations go to die.
Are we still on the car-in-the-ditch metaphor? It’s hard to keep track.
In ’08, when Barack Obama sent tingles down the legs of media big-shots with his salesmanship, his favorite shtick was the economic pie metaphor. Obama delivered his “I’m gonna get you have-nots your rightful piece of the pie” metaphor gig on stage after stage, in town after town, and it was a huge hit. One woman gushed that she couldn’t wait for him to be president so she would no longer have to worry about putting gas in her car or paying her mortgage.
But it didn’t take even a Pulitzer-winning investigative journalist to find out that Obama’s community organizing in Chicago had left people no better off, and sometimes worse off, than before he had brought his silver tongue into town. As an Illinois state senator, Obama had managed to wrangle millions of housing money for a poor Chicago neighborhood. Then he jumped into bed with slumlord (and now convicted felon) Tony Rezko, and within a few short years, those once-glowing housing units were being condemned as uninhabitable — without working lights and water.
That piece of the pie turned into nothing more tangible than pie in the sky for thousands of naïve people.
Now that our community organizer in chief has given away all our pie and handed out IOUs for more pies than the country can ever hope to bake, he stands around dumbstruck because, ladies and gentlemen, he never had the slightest clue how those ingredients got from farm and factory to the grocery stores to the pantry to the hardworking hands that made them. He’s now become baker in chief, and he doesn’t have a single recipe for more pie, much less the skills to make one.
On the campaign trail in 2010, President Obama abandoned the American pie metaphor for his car-in-the-ditch shtick, which failed to reproduce the swooning and fawning of ’08. Many Americans thought the president had learned his lesson and would get his economic p’s and q’s in gear with a reasonable budget, calling for not only great restraint but also for deep cuts in everything. Instead, the community organizer in chief has brought out the sure-to-become infamous, “Brother, can you spare an investment”? And to top it off, he calls this winning the future. I prefer to think of the whole lump sum of Obama’s economic prowess by the ever-cute acronym: WTF.
Now, I’m quite certain there is some truly deep-meaning moral to this tale of a president who is clueless on economic policy.
For starters, before we elect another president, it might be nice to have verifiable evidence of that person’s having learned how to bake a real pie before we put him/her in charge of cutting ours up and passing it around to others.
We might want to make sure, before we give that president the keys to our big car with the super-charged economic engine, that he/she not only knows how to avoid ditches but also cliffs, and possesses at least a rudimentary knowledge of how the car actually runs. It would be nice to have a president, I think, who may not have graduated from Harvard Law, but who understands basic things like where oil comes from, how gasoline gets made, and how diverting huge portions of the world’s corn to ethanol might cause food shortages and inflation down the road.
At the moment, we will have to trust that the new Republican majority in the people’s House has learned its own lesson well and won’t be tempted to give this president any “investment” money until he cuts up all the credit cards and goes on an austerity footing.
As for my own humble citizen’s abode, I’m rejecting the new “Brother, can you spare an investment”? for a few tried and true Americanisms:
A penny saved is a penny earned.
Waste not, want not.
Save, save, save for a rainy day.
And my new favorite: Look before you leap into a car with a community organizer at the wheel, especially one who has never baked a pie.