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Despite our economy's so-called "green shoots" — a phrase that's been used in a staggering 1,017 articles since the inauguration — some economists are calling for a third stimulus.
But here's the one thing that nobody seems to understand: If America is our family, the government is acting like alcoholic, abusive parents. And I have news for you, kids: They're lying to us. "Green shoots," my foot!
And if I hear someone say we've made it through worse times, I'll hang myself. Has America ever had it this bad? Sure, but the events were clearly defined.
Economically, we had the Great Depression, which was worse than we have now.
War? Way worse: We barely survived a Civil War that cost 700,000 American lives; two World Wars in which about 90 million people worldwide died combined.
And a lack of trust from our politicians? We've also dealt with dysfunctional relatives and their huge breaches of trust — like Watergate, Monica-gate and Gate-gate — but we still bear the scars.
But on this struggle, we just haven't had any defining event, because our parents are abusive alcoholics destroying everything that made us strong.
We sit in fear of their arbitrary punishments, where the law is applied unequally. For example, Senate Finance Committee Chair Max Baucus proposed paying for the estimated $1.6 trillion health care bill by taxing health care benefits — unless you're in a union, of course.
Or the Chrysler-Fiat deal that saw junior creditors in the UAW paid before senior creditors in a teachers fund — violating the trust of bondholders.
The list goes on and on: Us kids are afraid to do anything.
The bad parenting also includes ruining our children's education. When 17 of the country's 50 biggest cities graduate less than half its students; lawmakers let the D.C. voucher program die, even though kids were a grade-level ahead of their peers; and two out of three students can't even locate Iraq on a map; are you really surprised that home schooling rate has doubled in the past 10 years?
How can family survive when the parents destroy their kid's education?
On top of all that, America's parents are gamblers, betting the future on "quick fixes" that are neither "quick" nor "fixes." Here's what the president said about the idea of another stimulus today:
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
REPORTER QUESTION: Do you think you need a second stimulus package?
PRESIDENT BARACK OBAMA: Well, not yet because I think it's important to see how the economy evolves and how effective the first stimulus is....
I'm not suggesting that I have a crystal ball. Since you just threw back at us our last prognosis let's not engage in another one.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
Hey, I have a crystal ball! Also, did you notice he didn't say "no" — he said, "not yet"?
How could we possibly be talking about a third stimulus when the nonpartisan CBO estimates that only 5 percent of the 2nd stimulus has been spent? Even if you go by the White House's numbers, it's only 14 percent, for the quick fix that they rushed through.
Is it any wonder that 52 percent of Americans say stimulus is working — down 7 percent in just two months.
Confidence in the Midwest is dropping faster than anywhere else. Look at Elkhart, Indiana, the "RV Capital of the World," where Obama launched the stimulus program: the unemployment rate is 19.2 percent. And that's not the worst in America.
And yet at least a dozen of the same economists who as an industry missed the $8 trillion housing bubble, including our best bud, 2008 Nobel Prize winner Paul Krugman, are calling for a third stimulus. Although most didn't get into specifics, former Clinton treasury official Brad Delong suggested guaranteeing all states' debt in addition to another $500 billion in aid.
Wow. How does the family survive?
So, do I think America's family will survive? Yes, you'll be living under a bridge, fending off bums with broken bottles. Know this: Americans will always survive, because the American spirit never gives up. But, before that, the parents need to admit they have a problem.
Your parents are lying and need to be checked into rehab. But first we need to usher them out of the bar.
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