Monday, April 30, 2012

Is the World Run by Dr. Laura's Callers?

Before the internet was readily available as a source for all the news and opinion the mainstream media didn't want to share, Rush Limbaugh' radio show was a convenient source.  During the 1990s, the Dr. Laura show could be heard on the same station that carried Rush's show (it was either right before or right after).  So I had a number of opportunities to hear her callers explain the details of their particular dire situation and ask for her advice.  Generally, the typical caller had made a number of really bad decisions, gotten themselves into an uncomfortable situation where it looked like every possible course of action would result in painful consequences, and they were calling hoping that she could provide the pixie dust advice which would allow them to ride a magic unicorn to a place where there are no painful consequences and everyone lives happily ever after.  Dr. Laura, to her credit, would inform them that she was fresh out of magic unicorns and pixie dust.  I must confess I only managed to make it through a few such calls during the time the show was on around here, but all the ones I heard seemed to follow this same basic plot.  Life is full of painful consequences, especially when you make lots of really bad choices.  Heck, sometimes there's pain when you haven't done anything to cause it.

Is the Dr. Laura show still around?  And if it is, can we get most of the world's so-called leaders to call in?  Starting with Ben Bernanke, perhaps?  And Barack.  Along with those in Europe?

When did it become accepted wisdom that government has the expertise and the mechanisms of power to fix everything so that citizens never have to experience any pain?  This is hubris on steroids.  Does anyone really think that the Federal Reserve can print trillions in worthless currency and it will 'fix' our economy?  The world went on a bender fueled by debt and now we're going to fix everything by getting even more pickled?!  We're weaning the patient off cocaine by mainlining crack.  What could go wrong with a plan like that?

Suppose that Americans saw a news story that said the Federal Reserve is taking green construction paper, cutting it into rectangles, scrawling 100s or 1000s on them and carting them over to the Treasury in an endless parade of wheelbarrows to be used to pay the government's debt to the tune of a few trillion.  I hope we'd have enough sense to be concerned.  Yet, that's what helicopter Ben is doing, only with a computer.  Frankly, I think I'd have more faith in pixie dust and a magic unicorn.

Unfortunately, Ben's not the only vendor of pixie dust.  The current White House acts as if there isn't a problem in the world that can't be solved painlessly by throwing money at it and adding to our national debt.  It seems to be the only play in quarterback Obama's playbook.  And Europe is playing a bizarre game of financial musical chairs where there's only one chair, it belongs to Germany, and the German citizens are beginning to wonder if they want to keep playing.  Most of the nations in the EU are broke, they can't finance their debt, so they pressure the banks to buy it.  Except the banks are broke, too.  Which is why they have no choice but to do the government's bidding.  So everyone is spending money they don't have in an effort to keep the bubble expanding and hoping they aren't going to be around to take the shot in the face when it pops.  To mix my metaphors, the EU plan appears to be that if everyone will agree to pretend the shark isn't in the pool, none of the swimmers will get eaten.  I think they'd be smarter to try to ride the unicorn out of that pool.

At the very least, someone should have the integrity to point out that the emperor is swimming in it without a suit.

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