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Thursday, September 3, 2009

Oh, Please Make It Stop

Dear Mr. President,
It is me again, still not a czar, still a lot pissed about that, but certainly the urine generated about my not getting one of those positions diminishes a little each day as the mental bladder fills with the notions of all the incredibly dumb stuff that is going on. All at once. And believe me, sir, unlike some of the whack jobs out there who are convinced it is all your fault, I know a little better, but , hey, it’s considerable easier writing to you than writing to my federal electeds who don’t care or to my state electeds who can’t read or are too busy trying to make some real estate deal or busy making a law to pay state cops seventy-five bucks an hour to sit off duty guarding paving crews while catching up on their paper-work, reading some crime novel, or catching a nap. Hey, but that’s stimulating and free market, too, I think, because local cops can jump in and do it for less, I think. But, heck, that’s not why I am writing today; I am not real upset about the cops; that story is just a little black jack upside the head compared to bludgeoning we are taking from some of the others out there, in a manner of speaking of course.

Take for example the clunk on the head that I got when I read the news about what’s going on in the financial industry that my friends and I have helped out of a fix. Only a month ago, Morgan Stanley (and that is not a NASCAR driver, sir, or a tool maker but a big deal of a bank, market consultant, gambler) announced it was squirreling away 72 percent of its revenue for salaries, bonuses, and benefits. I guess they laid off so many people that they didn’t need and dumped all those folks health, dental, and vision insurances that they just had too much left over just to save and all. So, for doing such a swell job, the head-cheeses (now, sir, that isn’t the same thing as a cheese-head) have given themselves a great big pat in the wallet, if you catch my drift. And so it went with most the rest of the Wall Street companies popping out some ginormous bucks to the top-canines. And here’s the double irony, sir, these bonuses and what-not are performance bonuses; these dudes got more money than Midas because their performances went up because we stimulated them. Sure, some or most got their lucre in the form of stocks which they can’t sell for a while but if we keep stimulating, those stocks will most likely go up making a paltry couple million may be ten or so millions. Now, of course I am a selfish sort; can’t I get some sort of stimulation other than the one that feels like it is in my backside every time I read about someone getting a big fat bonus for a bad company or a really big fat bonus for doing nothing but taking in some poor slobs' taxes. And here’s the triple irony: Mr. President, you want to put teachers on merit pay. I suppose you will dump the dumb students and make sure teachers only get the bright kids so that they are assured of merit pay. Of course, you might want to suggest to those mental giants up on the Hill, that the households with all the really bright kids will get pants' deductions because the seats of all those smart kids’ pants will get worn right off in that they will be changing rooms every five minutes, all day long. Now you can see the real meaning of No Child Left Behind, or right behind, if you catch my drift, sir. But I digress which is a bad habit with which I constantly struggle. To get back on track: I thought you were going to investigate all that conniving, double dealing, skunk spraying, robbing and stealing that was going on on Wall Street. Just as an aside, Mr. President: when I start to use the real tiny four-letter words, I am real pissed off. FYI, sir, FYI. Oh, yes before I leave this topic, I do find it interesting that the financial services industry paid bonuses of 18.4 billion in 2008. Did I miss something when I heard we were in near depression, was it a rumor about pay caps at half a million a year, and another rumor about CEOs and CFOs, And DOGs not being able to “circumvent” pay caps by getting huge stock bonuses? But then again a metric ton of that money finds its way right on up to the Hill where so many are constantly pounding their fists about too much government regulation. Oh, well, anyways here’s an interesting quote from the Wall Street Journal from the pen of Kevin Drum, "Executives and other highly compensated employees now receive more than one-third of all pay in the U.S. In the five years ending in 2007, earnings for American workers rose 24%, half the 48% gain for the top-paid. The result: The top-paid represent 33% of the total, up from 28% in 2002." Damn, in bad times, too.

President Obama, my head hurts just from all the figuring and cogitating I have done trying to fathom all this , but I got to admit, there are just too many damned zeros here for my mental abacus to handle. But what I can compute is this: at an average of 50 K a year for teaching as many as 150 students a day, your average teacher has got to work 20 years to make what some of these birds who got bailed out make in half a week. Of course, my math ain’t real good as I only got up to goesintas in my math education, but that was my lacking for mathematical apprehension, sir, and not the fault of my teachers.

Sir, I am all typed and thought out for today, and I really wanted to get into Madoff, Stanford, Blackwater, but I just can’t. But please, don't give federal employees Jill-squat for a raise, get out of Iraq, out of Afghanistan, solve the immigrant problem, the tax problem, the health problem, the flu problem, the sleeping-and-texting-folks-who-are-guarding-our-bridges problems, the Republican problem, the Texas problem. Better hurry up too, sir, the problems appear to be multiplying faster than happy hamsters.

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