Licking the Platter Clean

holy_taco_stadium.jpgThere’s an old nursery rhyme that goes:

Jack Sprat could eat no fat
His wife could eat no lean
And so between them both, you see
They licked the platter clean!

Well, in a clear cut case of life imitating art, we have seen how this cultural touchstone transfers to our everyday lives. The fat that entranced Jack Sprat’s wife can be found all over the internet and it looks delicious. Meanwhile, the lean that caught Jack’s fancy has hit our bank accounts and 401k’s. From the increase in the unemployment rate to the drop in consumer spending, America hasn’t seen such lean times in decades. But luckily, in this drama the role of Jack Sprat’s wife is played by the Federal Government and she’s never seen a big ol’ plate of fat that she didn’t like. This is why we will soon be the proud owners of a $800 billion dollar stimulus package.

It would be nice if we could just blame this whole thing on one party or the other. It’s the Republicans’ fault for the past eight years of profligate spending and expensive foreign entanglements. Or the Democrats are responsible because they rammed a pork laden bill down the collective American gullet while paying mere lip service to the idea of bipartisanship. But, let’s call it like it is here. Pork, in all its many wonderful forms, is the American way.

That being said, this stimulus package is nothing when compared to the recent automobile and bank bailouts. The overall price tag on this one may be higher but at least there’s a legitimate goal. The bailout? Well, for you baseball fans, here’s an easy way to look at it. Let’s say you have a team, we’ll call them the New Pork Spankees, and they decide that things aren’t looking as rosy as they’d like. So, they tell the city of New Pork, “Look, things are kind of rough and the only thing that will help is if you build us a new stadium. You’re going to be on the hook for most of the costs but really, you owe us because we’ve been so good to you over the years. Here’s the thing, though. If you don’t do it, we’ll close up shop, maybe move someplace else and then where will you be?.” It’s like Congress telling the American people that we have to rescue Detroit but the taxpayers are going to have to pay for it because the automakers have been so good to America in the past. It’s time we payed our dues.

Inevitably, these two eerily similar bailouts end up helping certain special people (i.e. the owner of the Spankees or the auto executives) a lot more than they help the people who are footing the bill. It also doesn’t help when the real price of the package skyrockets as time wears on.

But what about all of us, the guys who are footing the bill? What do we get in return? Well, we get higher ticket prices, a sense of disenfranchisement and then we’re forced to watch our teams perform at some unacceptable level of status quo.

The difference between the Spankees and the American taxpayer, though, is that without some sort of package, the taxpayer is soon going to find his or herself standing in line outside the unemployment office. The city of New Pork? Well, they’ll just create their own bailout plan and float the costs on down the line to the taxpayer. Individualized gains, socialized losses but the same old story no matter where you look.

-A

9 Comments

So Allen – when are you going to run for President? God Bless America – we need him to; we’ve messed it up pretty well.

Julia
http://werbiefitz.mlblogs.com/

What’s wrong with Pork?! It’s very tasty! You can’t make cuban sandwiches without it!!1! mmmmm…cuban sandwiches.

Seriously, though, I have to admit that this economic stimulus package actually makes a lot of sense (unlike the big bailouts for the banking and automotive industries). Though I loathe the idea of the government getting even bigger than it is now, I think this will be more effective in stimulating the economy than just a bunch of tax cuts. At least I hope so.
-Erin
http://plunking-gomez.mlblogs.com

Erin, I couldn’t agree with you more. Pork is delicious. When I’m at a nice restaurant, I always go for the pork dish because it’s harder to do well but when it is, it’s amazing. As for the stimulus, it is definitely necessary. However, I think the senate needs to frontload the package a little more and cut out some of the unrelated expenditures. As the senior body, that is their job. Let’s just hope they step up.
-A

Great analogy! This picture is perfectly appropriate. Like all the stimulas and bailout packages, the ‘dish’ is intricate and creative in it’s construction, but I’m still not sure if I want to eat it. -Kathy

http://redbirdchatter.mlblogs.com

I have two questions. (Well, I have many, but I’ll stick to two.) What are the car companies doing with the money? And is there, in fact, a car czar?

http://janeheller.mlblogs.com

Great Entry! Love the picture btw, nice.
What if the country that the city of New Pork was in disbanded the Spankees and used their money to fix their economy? ;)

Seriously though I completely agree with you.
Melissa
http://clemsongirlbaseball.mlblogs.com

LOL.. despite being a Yankee fan, I have to say that analogy was pretty funny.
And I don’t think that food stadium could look any more drool worthy. I want to sit in the Cheese Doodle section.
– V [ http://flairforthedramatic.mlblogs.com ]

You teased me with the photo and brought a political message instead. I read the whole thing looking for the who, what and why for the pic to no avail. All I know is I want one of those at my super bowl party!

Cob
http://cobf.mlblogs.com

It seems that virtually every country will be in deficit this year, so who do they owe the money to and isn’t there enough of us to just take it back?

http://arizonaviaslough.blogspot.com/

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