Economics and Politics: Are You Keeping Your Sense of Humor?

“When humor goes, there goes civilization.”
Erma Bombeck

I've selected the above rather humdrum subjects to examine because they produce daily pain from violently shaking my vacuous head in disbelief after hearing or reading another item of news. And you might ask why a contributor to a great metropolitan magazine like HVACR Distribution Business would even be concerned with such wide-ranging and nebulous subjects. Well the answer is, I'm a news junkie. I constantly yearn for another sound bite fix of bizarre and idiotic statements emanating from politicians, dictators, economists or the like; media reports of half-truths and biased information; and accounts of the latest threat or scare from which only the government can save us.

While I'm sure there is counseling available for my addiction or at the least a support group to help my family deal with me, I'm reluctant to seek help at this point. The reason being I am convinced that any day now I will determine who is putting idiot juice in the world's drinking water, and overnight I will become an international hero with wealth beyond compare.

Perhaps if I cited a couple of examples of my daily dilemma, you might understand my pathetic condition.

Economics (Guess who pays?)

“The whole aim of practical politics is to keep the populace alarmed — and hence, clamorous to be led to safety — by menacing it with an endless series of hobgoblins, all of them imaginary.”
H.L. Mencken

  • The potential collapse of U.S. and world financial markets is an outcome of the government's plan that everyone must own a home. The result is unprecedented government bailouts, continuing financial institution failures, government dictation of executive pay, plenty of finger-pointing, and nobody is willing to even hazard a guess if it will be successful.

  • The collapse of the U.S. auto industry — the federal government has directed General Motors and Chrysler to seek bankruptcy. In another extraordinary intrusion into private industry, the government paid out $70 billion ($30 billion of which they told us is gone forever) and now owns, along with the United Auto Workers, the majority of both GM and Chrysler. Can anyone help me guess the future of this storied industry with these knowledgeable owners?

  • Unending and devastating economic recession. Result? Massive government “porkulous” stimulus programs. Very little of the stimulus money has been distributed in nearly four months, and yet the economy seems to be recovering on its own.

Politics (We elected them.)

“Reader, suppose you were an idiot. And suppose you were a member of Congress. But I repeat myself.”
Mark Twain

  • The Vice President describes to the media his undisclosed top secret retreat in the event of a national emergency. Millions of dollars of taxpayer funds were recently spent ensuring the security and secrecy of this location.

  • Waxman — Markey Global Warming Bill — This cap-and-trade tax disguised as environmental legislation will have little if any effect on the supposed global warming issue. Consider this — analysis shows it will raise electric rates 90 percent after adjustment for inflation, raise gas prices 74 percent, natural gas 55 percent and at best only result in a 0.2 degree rise in global temperature by the end of the century. If that's true why are the politicians pursing it so vehemently? It wouldn't be special interest groups. No, they're gone now with the change in Administration… My bad.

  • It is a felony to lie to Congress, but it seems there is no problem with them lying or telling half-truths to us.

I truly believe the government and the media hold to the conviction that anyone outside their circle is dim-witted and ignorant. I, for one, refuse to believe that I am. But wait a minute, this glass of water has a unique taste and is pretty yummy. I've got to check it out. It could be that juice…
Don Frendberg, Executive vice president / COO

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