Wednesday, August 31, 2011

Exercising His Job Bone

After Labor Day may come a moment of truth for Barack Obama. With unemployment still over 9 % he needs to lay out a jobs planthat will sell him to the American people for another four years. His opponents in the Republican party are selling tax cuts and deregulation: in short, everything we’ve been doing for the last ten years with no effect. That’s likely to win; thanks to the two-party system, whenever the economy tanks we have to go with whoever’s out of power, however wrong-headed their ideas obviously are.

Speaking of out of power, Barack Obama. Right now there’s an internal White House debate as to whether Obama should present a large, ambitious plan that would inspire his base but face almost certain defeat in a Tea Party–driven Congress or focus on small bore goals thatwould face almost certain defeat in a Tea Party–driven Congress. Obama will probably try to achieve a compromise defeat.

Here are some of the ideas likely to be floated after Labor Day:

Payroll Tax Cut

Workers pay into Social Security with this tax, so what could go wrong with another payroll tax holiday? The benefits to the economy would far outrun any long-term risks to seniors, because nothing inspires consumer consumption in a debt-ridden society more than barely perceptible incremental increases in their paychecks. Concerns being raised about this cut’s affecting Social Security’s viability should be drowned out by troubling comments from the right, such as Governor Rick Perry’s comparing Social Security to “a giant Ponzi scheme.” Which brings us to our next plan for creating job growth in America…

A Giant Ponzi Scheme

The traditional Ponzi scheme involves paying off early investors with money from newer investors, which is a system doomed to collapse once new capital stops flowing in. Yet what if the scheme was guaranteed by the full faith and power of the U.S. government? Then the early investors could pocket their money, and maybe spend money on an extravagant birthday party or something. We’ll all go into catering, literally catering to the rich!

Infrastructure Bank

If our roads and bridges are so important, why did we give them a name, “infrastructure,” which sounds like something the Fantastic Four use to fortify their super lab headquarters? ’Nuff said about that.

As for creating jobs, the administration would create an infrastructure bank, which could then quickly go insolvent. The government could then bail the bank out without stipulations, and the corporate officers could give themselves huge bonuses. The rising tide lifts all boats, which is great for boats, but not so great for our bridges and highways, which are crumbling.

Mortgage Reform

Nothing’s going to improve until the housing situation improves. Why don’t we just strike the last five words of that sentence?

Outsource the Unemployed

What if we paid people in Thailand to be unemployed for us? It might be cheaper. Those people work for next to nothing. Also, what if we peg the U.S. dollar to the Chinese Yuan (Their currency sounds vaguely Spanish. Did China outsource their entire economy to Mexico? This would explain a lot.), which is pegged to the dollar? It could create a time warp or a black hole or something really cool like that. Or what if we paid Mexicans to do our drugs for us, and then sold THEM the drugs? Or what if we pegged the U.S. dollar to the drugs?

Start Another War

Why is that World War II got our economy going, but now wars cost a lot of money and don’t seem to do any good? It’s like the whole military-industrial complex is just a giant Ponzi scheme that kills a lot of people. Which brings us to our next plan for creating job growth in America…

A Giant Killer Ponzi Scheme

What if we got those killer drones to attack poverty-stricken parts of the U.S? Would YOU like to get in early on this killer investment deal?

These are the options Obama’s got to work with. His best bet is that the anemic growth we’re seeing is enough to get us to 8.9 % unemployment by next year, and that by then, 8.9 % feels like good news. We’re in the new normal, people, also known as “the new awful.” The truth is that the only way to get any new stimulus through Congress is to elect a Republican president. Only crass hypocrisy can save us now!

--Dan Kilian

Mr. Obama: Playground Monitor

Batman vs. The Taliban

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