Hey fellow Americans, now that bio-terrorism, federalized airport security, and military star-chambers are becoming a reality, what do you plan to do? Me, I’m going to Disneyland. Okay, maybe not Disneyland, but I have been to New York, Montana, and Oregon recently — and by plane. I’m also thinking about buying a new computer. I just don’t think that makes me a patriot.
Which is why I wish the White House, Congress, and the media would stop flacking for the financial sector in the name of patriotism. In peace or in war, the real solution to overcapacity is not maxing out our credit cards. Mindless consumption and consumer debt can only float an economy for so long, even if two-thirds of our gross domestic product comes from the “shop ’till you drop” ethic.
Admirably demonstrating that ethic, last month, Sens. Patty Murray (D-Wash., flashy democratic scarves) and Olympia Snowe (R-Maine, discreet Republican pearls) went so far as to propose a bipartisan 10-day sales-tax moratorium beginning with the day-after-Thanksgiving holiday sales. Their push to jumpstart consumer spending was sidetracked, however, by Snowe’s fellow Republicans, who pushed even harder for a 15-year retroactive corporate tax-break to stimulate lagging sales of mega-yachts and trophy wives.
The basic economic war theory as I understand it is that once those Al Qaeda terrorists in their caves see Americans buying CD burners and SUVs with low- and no interest financing, they’ll realize they can’t beat us, abandon their mosques, and head to the malls. They can get there by following the flag posters in store windows proclaiming, “America: Open for Business.”
Even some environmentalists have begun to confuse the things we make with the values we hold dear. I recently attended a conference where a panelist from the World Resources Institute talked about how the “B4B” (that’s what he called the “Bottom 4 Billion” of the world’s population) lacked Internet access. Obviously they’re also being denied “3Ps”: Personal Computers, Palm Pilots, and Potable Water.
Still with the holiday season fast approaching, I can’t help but feel an increased sense of sobriety across the land, due at least in part to cut-backs at Liquor Barn and other discount eggnog outlets. Hopefully, we’ll be able to counter this recessionary trend towards serious reflection on our duties as American citizens by going out and buying as much stuff as possible. We can start by purchasing Harry Potter tickets and Harry Potter magic action figures to let our enemies know our consumer spirit will not flag. (Thankfully, flag sales are one sector of the economy that’s shown steady growth.)
Personally, even though I don’t have a lot of money this holiday season, I’d still like to do my part by reminding readers that, while not technically “Christian,” I’m available for Christmas stimulus packages in the $100-plus range. Among items I could use are a G-4 Mac computer and a new TV (my old one doesn’t get all 99 channels on my basic cable). One of those hybrid gas-electric cars would be nice, too, and seems environmentally responsible, although to avoid the appearance of journalistic bias, I’d like it to come with a trailered Jetski.
Do what you can and show you care. God bless you, Santa, and America.