I can barely get my eyes open most mornings, but with the state of the economy and Christmas looming large, I’m ever eager to read what is going on in Washington and on Wall Street.
Barney Frank comments that the bank executives who got to split $1.6 billion from the bailout “need incentive to keep doing the jobs they were hired to do.” Hello? I think a prison sentence ought to be incentive enough! Come on Barney, get real. I hope Bill O’Reilly rakes you over the coals again, because that is just about the stupidest thing you could say to the American people who are losing their investments because of idiots like you.
Then we have Captain Birdseye, our own Joe Biden. Joe thought it would be good to hit the campaign trail looking like Thurston J. Howell III (“the third,” as he would say). You remember ol’ Mr. Howell … from “Gilligan’s Island”?
Yeah. And this is the guy that’s supposed to be heading up the “White House Task Force on Working Families.” Makes it sound like they’re running around the country looking like some guys from C.O.B.R.A., GI Joe’s nemesis.
Now, Mr. Biden seems like an all right kinda guy. Just a big lunky uncle who tells silly jokes and laughs at himself all the time. He is about as un-middle class as you can get. Sure he went bar hopping during the campaign, merely to try to ingratiate himself to the guys and gals who were having a light one after work.
However, being dressed as Captain Birdseye did not go over well. Hard to take someone like that seriously.
He and his “task force,” which consists of cabinet secretaries and cabinet officials from across the country (again … what connection do they have to the middle class? None.), are trying to make sure the close-to-$800 billion economic stimulus package (which was supposed to only be $175B) slows the soaring cost of education (how about just giving teachers mo’ money? and some of those bank CEO incentives like country-club memberships, chauffeurs, and access to corporate jets?) expands work-force training (does that mean free college tuition?) and “arrests the slide of middle class incomes.” Hmm. Now there’s a weighty statement.
I asked once before in a prior column what the folks in Washington thought “middle income” was. They started at $250K. Then they lowered it to around $160K, and now they’ve been told its really closer to $50K. Hello! Isn’t that what I told them then? That “middle class” is somewhere between $40K and $75K? In one brief sentence, middle-class income slid all right … from $250K to $50K. The folks who are running this country have absolutely no idea what the middle class is or what problems it’s having. Zip. Zero. Zilch. Most of the folks in Washington make a lot more money than that and very few of them, if any, really have an interest in making it better for us.
And its not the soaring cost of education that is bothering the middle-class because most of the kids go to public schools. I’m sure it’s the “soaring cost” of health care. The cost of health care in this country is truly abominable. However, having said that, we have some of the best health care on earth. I’d gladly pay it when I think of what could happen to me almost anywhere else. But health insurance is not easy to get and most middle-class families struggle to get it. If the cost of health care was incorporated into county taxes … like, paying $20 a month to the county for health care … like 911 services … a lot more people would be able to relax every month.
That’s why the “team” is issuing details on it’s planning, to make themselves “appear” (did you get that? “Appear”?) actively engaged in addressing the current economic screams for mercy. And as usual, when something that affects the middle class comes to the table, Congress is out of session, cabinet members are unconfirmed, and the presidential office is on “hold.” That means this task force is going nowhere fast.
And so is the middle class.