When you talk about the economy, you can’t just throw around big words without knowing what they mean or pretty soon people will get wise to the fact that you don’t know what you’re talking about, and they will stop trusting you for investment advice. “Use the word ‘infrastructure’ in a sentence,” they will challenge. You can’t just make something up. You can’t say something like, “Whenever I yawn I get a sharp pain right in my infrastructure” because your doctor will know you’re faking. You need to come up with a professional sounding economic statement like: “We need buttloads of infrastructures.”
This is exactly the message President Obama sent to the American people during his first State of the Union Address, aptly titled “Buttloads of Infrastructures.” During his address, he promised to “stimulate” the economy by taking it out to a fancy dinner, followed by a nice romantic movie such as Wall Street starring Michael Douglas, and concluding the evening with Champaign and intimate conversation back at his place. Okay, not really. He really pledged to “stimulate” the economy by throwing tons more money and infrastructures at it until it retreats, satisfied, back into its bog for another eighty years.
This is basically the exact same thing the Republicans have been doing for the past thirty years, yet somehow the Republicans suddenly have a problem with it now that it’s a Democrat doing it. No Republican was more concerned with Obama’s economic plan than Louisiana Governor Bobby Jindal, who was tasked with responding to the President’s address. During his response, Governor Jindal hit upon many important points such as:
- President Obama is not, as far as anyone can tell, a Republican.
- We should Care Bear Stare the economy back to life.
- What the hell is a “volcano,” and why should we “monitor” one?
- The Republican Party would like to earn back America’s trust.
By way of emphasizing that last point about the Republican Party earning back America’s trust, it turns out that the story Governor Jindal told, wherein he stood shoulder-to-shoulder with Jefferson Sheriff Harry Lee while evacuating Hurricane Katrina survivors — a cornerstone of his speech — was completely false. He was nowhere near Jefferson Parish at the time of the flooding, and he only heard about Sheriff Harry Lee’s courageous story second-hand a few days after it had happened. Still, Jindal’s response was not nearly as disastrous as a response Illinois Governor Rod “Milorad” Blagojevich once gave to a President Bush speech, wherein Blagojevich declared himself the Supreme Ruler of Awesome and tried for a good five minutes to fly out of the Illinois Capital Building, only to claim that he wasn’t flying because he decided he didn’t want to and skulk out of the room.
We are already beginning to see the Republican response to the economic stimulus package they voted for recently, now that they have a chance to actually start reading it. (“Roads? What is wrong with the roads we already have? What this economy needs to create jobs here at home is more lead-filled pharmaceuticals that are made in China!” “Forget that! Let’s put salmonella in everything!“) The Republicans are also highly critical of a plan to build a high-speed magnetic rail system because they fear it will lead directly to legalized abortion, which they believe is only justified in extreme cases where the baby runs a high risk of being born gay.
The only thing Republicans and Democrats can readily agree on is that stubbornly refusing to compromise on any position is the only possible thing that can fix the economy. For instance, the Republicans still somehow believe that the markets don’t need regulation even though we’ve already seen that (a) greedy people are not all that trustworthy and (b) deregulation is exactly what got us into this mess in the first place. By contrast, the Democrats firmly believe that what the economy needs is more infrastructures. That’s why President Obama is handing them out like it’s a year-end clearance blowout sale on infrastructures and everything must go.
It turns out that none of our politicians really know how to fix our economy because not even they really know how the economy works. No one knows how the economy works. Economic analysts don’t even know how the economy works; all they do is describe what the economy is doing right at this exact moment, using big words like “infrastructure.” (“It appears the Dow Jones is continuing to plunge so I would recommend moving all of your assets into heavily fortified infrastructures.”) Myself, I am going to go find me some volcanoes and monitor the heck out of them.