Categories
Opinion The Mack Truck

Looks Like You’ve Stepped in the Merde Now, Mr. President

by Henry “Mack Truck” Harvey

You know it’s bad when even the French guy is giving you flack.

This week, Nicolas Sarkozy, the short French guy with the hot wife, took a pretty hostile and aggressive tone against our Verbal-Pauser-in-Chief. Why, wasn’t it just a few short months ago that Sarkozy and the rest of Europe seemed to be foaming in their lattes at the notion of Obama as our president? What happened?

Well, long story short, Obama’s first months in office have seen us bring down the entire world economy. (Now, I don’t want to hear that he “inherited this mess” and all the other excuses people make for him. Bush inherited stuff, too, and he didn’t cry about it. Yeah, so it was a surplus in his case, but still… You play the hand you’re dealt. It’s not Bush’s fault that Obama wanted to be president so bad.) Naturally, leaders of countries that think they didn’t do much to get their countries into the bleak situation they currently find themselves in are pretty pissed off. At the U.S.A.

Which brings us to Le Petit Prince. He is unhappy. He is threatening to walk out of the G-20 Summit meetings in London, if tighter global financial regulations are not agreed to. And the chick from Germany doesn’t seem to be swooning at the sound of our great orator’s voice either. And this is the leader of the country that went completely ga-ga over Obama just a few months ago, when he visited the all-important swing state of Munich during the presidential campaign.

So President Obama’s got some work to do. But what’s the smart move for him? What tactics can he employ to win over the Monsieur Cruller and Fraulein Sturm and Drang? Well, to start with, he can apologize for hiring a twelve-year-old Treasury Secretary. That might be a good jumping off point.

But it’s tough. On the one hand, he has to make everyone happy enough to want to help out and put money into their economies, to try to get everything moving again. On the other hand, he can’t look weak and be a pushover to a guy who comes up to his waist and a chick who… comes up his waist, too. (Although she could probably kick his ass, so I wouldn’t mess with her too much.) He’s got Gordon Brown on his team, but that’s like having the kid who wears jeans and penny loafers on your team in gym. He’s not going to carry much weight during the game.

So it seems it will be up to Mr. Obama himself. Let’s see if he’s as super-humanly talented as all the Obama-trons seem to think he is. Because one thing’s for sure: our man’s in a Paris-sized pickle.

I guess love is fleeting. Even when it’s spelled, “Je t’aime.”

Categories
Business/Economy Opinion

What This Economy Needs is to Win the Lottery

by Rep. Chip Daniels (D-MD)

I’ve been thinking about the economic crisis a lot lately. I guess a lot of people have. But I’m in Congress, so I have to, like, really think about it. Like, a lot. Anyway, while I was thinking, this thought came to me that was so obvious I couldn’t believe none of these award-winning economists had thought of it. This economy needs to win the lottery!

Categories
Opinion

Ask Congress: The AIG Bonuses

The National Protrusion is proud to debut Ask Congress, a series where members of the United States Congress answer questions on a given topic.

Today’s topic: The disclosure that several executives at AIG received large bonuses, in some cases in the millions of dollars, at the same time the company has received billions of dollars in bailout funds, paid for with Americans’ tax dollars.

Participating in today’s discussion are three members of the U.S. House of Representatives, each of whom was asked the same four questions. The representatives are:

Rep. Candace Craig

Rep. Candace Craig

Republican, Representing Missouri’s 11th District

Rep. Chip Daniels

Rep. Chip Daniels

Democrat, Representing Maryland’s 9th District

Rep. Raymond T. Birch

Rep. Raymond T. Birch

Republican, Representing Florida’s 26th District

Q: What was your reaction when you learned that these bonuses had been paid out to executives at AIG?

Rep. Candace Craig

Craig: Outrage. Absolute outrage. But being outraged isn’t enough. You have to say it. You have to say it over and over again in front of television cameras.

Rep. Chip Daniels

Daniels: I’m a little fearful that I used up all my outrage on the Ponzi scheme guy.

Rep. Raymond T. Birch

Birch: The real sickness of this system goes much further than a few bonus payments to a few executives. Ah, if only everyone would read Ayn Rand as closely as she deserves to be read.

Q: In your opinion, what is an appropriate punishment for the executives who received the bonuses?

Rep. Candace Craig

Craig: I don’t know. Maybe they should be hung upside down? By their toes or something? I’m not really good at “make up a punishment.”

Rep. Chip Daniels

Daniels: Can someone get in touch with that Lynndie England girl? She’ll know what to do.

Rep. Raymond T. Birch

Birch: I’m not sure, but I bet Ayn Rand would’ve come up with something great.

Q: What about the bill approved by the House Thursday, which says that the bonus payments will be taxed at a 90% rate? Do you think that’s fair and constitutional?

Rep. Candace Craig

Craig: I think it’s absolutely fair. But I think we should go further and tax this money at 150%. What? That’s the same as them paying a fine? Well, excuuuuse me, Mr. Big Accountant Man. We’re not all Ben Bernanke.

Rep. Chip Daniels

Daniels: I’ve always been taught that the more anger there is over a given issue, the less the Constitution matters.

Rep. Raymond T. Birch

Birch: Taxes? Did you say taxes? Oh, I’m sorry. I thought we were talking about things that I recognize the existence of.

Q: How do we stop this from happening in the future?

Rep. Candace Craig

Craig: I would say, “We can’t afford to have companies that are too big to fail,” but I have no idea what that means.

Rep. Chip Daniels

Daniels: We elect someone who respects the rule of law. Who respects common decency. Who understands the value of a dollar and represents Maryland’s 9th District in the United States Congress.

Rep. Raymond T. Birch

Birch: We punish those who abuse the system. That’s how a free market works. Not that we have a real free market. What we have is a…You know what? Here’s a copy of “We the Living.” Read that, my friend, and you won’t have any more questions. Only answers.

Categories
Business/Economy Opinion The Mack Truck

My Mother and Father Must Start Lending Again

by Henry “Mack Truck” Harvey

Mom, Dad, listen: I know times have been tough. I know you’ve lost money in the stock market and had big chunks taken out of your 401Ks. I know all that, and I feel for you; I really do. But The Time Has Come. The time has come to get this household economy moving again. And the only way we’re going to be able to do that is if you guys start lending. Because as it is, this economy is at a standstill. I’m not buying anything. And that can’t be allowed to continue.

This parent-child economy only works if there is lending from the parent to the child. For the child has no money of his own, so without the parents’ help, he can’t go out and purchase a stereo, a laptop or even a pair of sneakers. What this means, Mom and Dad, is that everybody loses. Not just me, your child, but everybody. The whole country. The store selling the stereo doesn’t make the the sale they would have made if I had been able to buy the stereo. Maybe that’s one more worker who’ll have to be laid off this week. The laptop manufacturer moves one less unit. And we all know how important the manufacturing sector is to the overall economic health of the United States. What about the sneaker salesman? Well, without me being able to purchase a new pair of sneakers, he’s just standing at the entrance to the Foot Locker, staring out at the empty shopping mall, with nothing but his silly referee uniform to keep him company.

All of this misfortune, Mom and Dad, could be reversed if you could muster the courage and the foresight to restart the age-old practice of lending money to your children (one child in particular). What might this mean for you, specifically? Well, it could begin with an act such as handing over $120 in cash to your child. A gesture like that would go a long way to restoring confidence and faith in our household economy.

Now, I already hear your protestations. Especially you, Mom. “What is this ‘lending?’ It’s only lending if there’s some hope of getting paid back.” This is true, and in the strict sense, you won’t be paid back, at least not in the form of cash, and certainly not any time within the next several decades. But I ask you, what is “repayment?” Does it always come in the form of a return of the money you lent out? Or can it mean something else?

Isn’t it true, Mom, that someday you and Dad will both will be very old? Isn’t that, in fact, a fact? Won’t you need someone to take care of you at that point? Who do you think that might be? Your son, Billy? His dog starved to death because he forgot to feed him. I didn’t want to tell you that, but I feel the urgency of this situation requires you to be in possession of all the relevant facts. Do you really want to put your well being in the hands of someone as irresponsible as Billy? These will be, after all, your Golden Years. So isn’t it wiser, when all things are considered, to consider this $120 as a down payment? A down payment on your future? I think it is. And if I do say so myself, I’m offering quite a return on your investment. Not starving is worth an almost incalculable sum.

Mom and Dad, now that I have demonstrated how vital a return to your former lending practices is for our economy’s health, let me stress that there isn’t time to waste. One thing we don’t have in this current crisis is extra time to think, to ponder, to ruminate. Plus, the stereo sale at Best Buy ends tomorrow.

Categories
Opinion The Mack Truck

Why Are There Still Problems, Mr. Problem Eraser?

by Henry “Mack Truck” Harvey

Well, well. Mr. Obama, you are finally President Obama. The day has finally come. Our nation turns its lonely eyes to you. Coo coo ca-choo.

Well, pardon me for pointing this out, but I can’t help but notice that there are still problems. I don’t understand how that’s possible. I thought you were the problem eraser, Mr. President. I thought you were like one of those magic cleaning cloths that you just rub over the problem and it goes away. That’s what I thought. (By the way, those things are amazing. I spilled chocolate syrup all over the bathroom, and you’d never know it. Fantastic.)

But alas, it doesn’t seem to be true. Here we are, several whole days now since you were inaugurated, and I see the economy is still in shambles. I see that unemployment is still incredibly high. I see that homes are still being foreclosed on all over the place, and no one can get a loan. (I can get a loan, but that’s because my mother co-signs.)

I can’t help but be skeptical, given where you’ve chosen to put your energy in these early days. For instance, couldn’t you have maybe done some work on your first official day in office? All I saw you doing on that day was dancing with your wife in twenty different places, listening to Bruce Springsteen scream about something (probably about how the working class gets screwed all the time), and trying not to fall asleep during whatever that poet lady was talking about. On your first full day in office, the next day, you phoned several Middle East leaders. Well, that’s great. I’m glad to hear that. How about calling a couple of Americans? Got time for that? I know we’re not “leaders” or “heads of state,” but we’re people. And we have phones. In fact, if you have Sprint, it would be free for you to call me.

One of the executive orders you signed means Guantanamo prison will close. Is this your plan for dealing with the economic crisis, Mr. President? Free the terrorists so they can kill us all, thus doing away with the suffering of the people by doing away with the people? They were right when they said you were smart.

Now, problems are difficult to deal with. That’s why they’re called problems. And I really do hope, for the sake of the country, that you solve them all. In order to do that, though, I think you might have to spend a little less time freeing Ahmed and his flock of merry, suicidal martyrs, and more time freeing Eddie the American from having to steal money from his wife’s purse just to go to the strip club.