This is going to be a great depression. Not with a capital "G" like the 30s, because the tech economy is real and this depression will be blogged. I heard a TV economist say in regard to the recession that "it will be longer and deeper than initially imagined." That's what I told my wife on our wedding night, and I was lying, too.
There is too much entrepreneurial spirit out there for the American economy to stay stagnant for long. Once we chase the money changers from the temple, perhaps free enterprise will be a bit freer for all, without the old fix in place. Watching the Obama administration come together has been exhilarating -- partly for the pleasure of watching a president who knows what he's talking about and can string more than two coherent sentences together.
The economy is kicking the crap out of me, but I have confidence that conditions will improve. It's like when you have a terrible cold and you smoke a joint. You still have the cold, only you dont care as much. I have no health insurance, but Sasha and Melia are adorable.
But can't we speed this thing up? If you've been following the final days of Chuckles, you're aware that our lame-duck president would strip-mine Jellystone Park if he could get away with it. He's attempting to turn as much public land as possible over to his oil buddies and trying to see how many animal species he can bring to the brink of extinction.
Tennessee used to have a governor named Ray Blanton who was as crooked as a spring twig. It was discovered that in his lame-duck days, he was selling pardons. The citizens of the Volunteer State ended up having to jerk his ass out of there and swear in the new governor several weeks early to end the crime spree. Al Capone finally went down for income tax evasion. Can't we arrest Bush for loitering?
Even the massive bailout of the economy doesn't overly concern me, except I'd like to know where this barrel of money is that theyre doing the bailing from. To paraphrase the late Senator Everett Dirkson: "Twenty billion here, twenty billion there, and pretty soon youre talking about real money."
The Big Three automakers are deserving of scorn for their 30 years of mismanagement, but they already possess the technology to start making solid vehicles. It's the oil and gas lobby that has kept the internal combustion engine king. There is a 2006 documentary that you need to see, now on DVD, called Who Killed the Electric Car? Emission-free, silent, and powerful electric vehicles already exist. We only need to replace gas stations with battery-charging stations. Here's a thought: Give the automakers a loan, but put Arnold Schwarzenegger in charge of fiscal discipline.
This dire economy and grim retail season have shown us one thing: If consumers want the price to drop on a certain commodity, all they have to do is stop buying it. All that was required to make the price of oil drop like the Times Square New Year's ball was for the public to stop driving so much. Oil prices dropped so precipitously, they had to put Ahmadinejad in the hospital for nervous exhaustion.
We are a one-car family now. I purchased a Honda scooter that gets 85 mpg. Same principle applies for electronics, computers, and televisions. Stop buying that shit for a while and see what happens. Customer service might even return.
The Obama team has shown great skill already in warding off what potentially could have been a run on the banks. And in foreign affairs, those male-enhancement tablets Hillary has been taking finally paid off. Now she's got the biggest balls in the cabinet and a job to match. Her selection as secretary of state was inspired, as was the pick of Bill Richardson at Commerce. And you can't help but admire Robert Gates for his patriotic service in staying as secretary of defense while we wind down Rumsfeld's and Cheney's dirty business in Iraq.
Despite the debris field remaining from the Bush era, the cleanup feels well under way. It almost seems like prosperity's just around the corner, every mans a king, there's a chicken in every pot -- and some pot for every chicken. I plan to endure the remaining economic chaos with my chin up and my eyes open. If I should falter, tell my family that I fell with my face to the enemy.
Exactly seven years ago this week, I wrote a column decrying a proposal by city engineers to turn the Overton Park Greensward into an 18-foot-deep "detention basin" designed to stop flooding in Midtown. The engineers claimed we'd hardly notice the football-field-sized bowl. "Except," I wrote then, "when it rains hard, at which time, users of Overton Park would probably notice a large, 18-foot-deep lake in the Greensward. Or afterward, a large, muddy, trash-filled depression."